Catalog #22: Spring 1985: Into the Amazon with Mel and Patricia Ziegler

Let’s  journey into the jungle that is the 1985 Spring Catalog #22….

Banana Republic Catalog  22 Spring 1985

This is the second catalog that features a travel journal from BR founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler. The first was #19, their African trip. This voyage to the Amazon follows the same format: The journal is written in yellow sections on the sides of pages throughout the catalog and Mel’s text is accompanied by Patricia’s watercolor illustrations done on the trip. The cover is done by Patricia as well, and it was the last one she did. This cover is a really great one, capturing the lush setting with an air of mystery and whimsey and with a strong color palette, particularly the bold color choice of the purple river. 

The travel journal itself is surprisingly rugged. It’s filled with so many unpleasant details…Chiggers! Poisonous plants! Venomous ants! Murderous rain showers! The fangs of the fer de lance! Shamans that kill with their MINDS! Toe-eating vampire bats! and finally…the inevitable lament about the vanishing rainforest.

Banana Republic Catalog #22: Spring 1985

As far as product goes, this catalog represents a great leap forward from the previous 48 page Christmas catalog. This is 64 pages and is packed with new offerings.

Banana Republic Catalog #22: Spring 1985

The Bush Jacket has been redrawn with more contrast and photorealism and has been rebranded as an Outback Bush Jacket and now has a matching pair of pants. The Photojournalist’s Vest design is continuing to evolve, having gained several new pockets and taking on a more familiar form. (Compare to Catalog #21).

Banana Republic Catalog #22: Spring 1985

Actually, if you look closer at this gorgeous set of pages for the Safari line, you can see that what was once the Photojournalist’s vest has been named the Safari Vest. This full bleed watercolor background is also a new look for Banana Republic catalogs.

Banana Republic Catalog #22: Spring 1985

Here’s some new women’s clothing, the Serengeti look is very hot. Out of Africa will debut the following December, and BR will be waiting. I think this is also the first appearance of the Leather and Linen Traveling Boots.


Banana Republic Catalog #22: Spring 1985

This may be the first sighting of the Diplomatic t-shirts, though this design is not as familiar (or attractive) as the later version.

Banana Republic Catalog #22: Spring 1985

This is something I had been wondering about. I kept seeing the same hat referred to as either the French Army Bush hat or the West African hat and assummed they just changed the branding along the way. Turns out they are two different hats. The West African hat had been in Catalog #21, and the French Army Bush hat had been in Catalog #17. They are both in this catalog, however. The West African hat is more expensive and has a shaped crown, with the French Army Bush hat has a soft rounded crown that can be pushed down.

Check out the horizontal version of the catalog cover that they’ve used as a spot illustration here. Some kind of cropping and shifting went on there.

That’s it for this catalog. Please browse through the pages below and see what you discover. My plan is to come back soon with Spring 1986 and see if we can’t cover all the spring catalogs before this summer rolls around. Happy Spring!




About The Author

Robyn Adams
Robyn's fascination with Banana Republic began in 1984 when her Alaskan adventurer father began buying the clothing and giving her the catalogs. She loved the clothes and as an artist she was drawn to the illustrations. She went on to study illustration at art college in BR's hometown of San Francisco and worked for years as a background artist for animation. She is now based in Oakland, CA as a graphic designer and illustrator with Secret Fan Base . She's been collecting and archiving at Abandoned Republic since 2011.


  • Patrice on April 9, 2017

    So instructive!!! I am amaze by the story of this unforgettable brand. But sadly , since Gap took over BR it became a ”Gap higher level clothing distributor”. No passion, no flame and no more BR spirit.

    But this simple story it is more than just a simple story it is all about financial take over and how money can kill competition, creativity and passion!!!

  • David Smith on February 6, 2023

    Am I losing my mind? I seem to remember BR ads in magazines in the late 80’s, with a full picture on one page and technical drawings on the other, but I can never find any online. Did I imagine them?

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