English Sportsman’s Bag

Sold from Fall 1984 through Summer 1985, the English Sportsman’s Bag looks to have been made by the same factory that made the Brady Bag. From the catalogue: “An old world design originally meant for carrying fish, it’s also perfect for files–snap out the waterproof lining and you have a handy tropical briefcase (or overnight, […]

Wakamba Bag

The rarest piece I saw in the Banana Republic Archive was this example of the Wakamba Bag. How rare? It was only featured once, in the Summer 1986 Update. “Using an ancient method unique to their region, the Wakamba women of Kenya twine these sisal bags by hand after dying the fibers with natural bark […]

Low Profile Bag

Introduced in the Spring 1986 catalogue as the British Low-Profile Bag, it subsequently ran until Summer 1988 as the Cotton Twill and Leather Low-Profile Bag. From the catalogue: ” An elegantly informal legal-sized bag in which to carry movie scripts, plans for the new restaurant, specs for your latest invention–or just your tennis togs–this briefcase […]

Linea Viaggio Legal-Sized Tote Bag

The Linea Viaggio line was offered from Spring 1985 through Spring 1986. The Legal-Sized Tote Bag was only offered in the Spring 1986 catalogue. Abridged from the catalog: “Traveling with natural fabrics is as dear to our hearts as the lure of the open road. As the premier travel clothing business in the nation, we […]

Mr. Brady’s Traveler’s Bag AKA The Gelderburn

Updated with new pictures! I recently set out to understand the differences among popular leather and linen English bags Banana Republic produced: The Low Profile Bag, The Correspondent’s Bag, Photojournalist Bag and Mr. Brady’s Traveler’s Bag. As is described in the Fall 1984 “Outfitters Who Outlasted the Empire” catalog the Zieglers contracted with many old […]

Grip Bag

From the Summer/Fall 1986 catalogue: “Something about the word “grip” conjures up the sounds of steam engines and clattering horses’ hooves–travel by train or carriage, before the days of metal detectors. You simply threw your grip aboard and clambered up yourself. When you got off, the driver or conductor threw it down to you. We […]

Market Bag

The bag was seen in the Summer 1983 catalogue, with a very unusual source: “British Linen Market Bag-Crafted By Authentic Felons: Made by genuine thieves, thugs, perverts, swindlers, pickpockets. Her Majesty recently put some of the knaves in her prisons to work sewing this classic market bag for little old ladies throughout Great Britain. With […]

Linea Viaggio Shoulder Bag

Abridged from the catalog: “Traveling with natural fabrics is as dear to our hearts as the lure of the open road. As the premier travel clothing business in the nation, we have certain standards to uphold. Up til now, we’ve been able to offer very few travel bags. The reason, to be frank, is that […]

Shoulder Tote

Made of Cotton Canvas and Leather, this Shoulder Tote was available in Summer 1987 through Holiday 1987. “Imagination is the only limit to what this bag can carry. It accomodates overnight changes, swimsuits, shopping finds, legal pads and files; zips securely shut at the top; even includes and interior pouch for miniscule accessories. The straps–inch-wide […]

British Binocular Case

From the 1987 Holiday Catalogue: “When scanning horizons for enemy troops during World War II, British soldiers peered through field binoculars they kept in canvas cases. The fittings are pure brass, the thick, reinforced canvas is sturdy but lightweight, and the shoulder strap is widened at the top for comfort. Will hold a camera, eyeglasses, […]

House Call Bag

From the 1988 Fall catalogue. In Khaki or Black! “Made from hardy cotton canvas, our House Call Bag is a modern-day resuscitation of that venerable classic, the doctor’s bag. We gave it a bracing dose of leather on the handles and latch, an inside zippered pocket, and a brass buckle, creating, we believe, a general […]

Freelance Briefcase

An English made twill and leather briefcase that reminds us very much of the earlier classic Brady Bag or Correspondent’s Bag, the Freelance Briefcase came out in Fall/Holiday 1987. From the catalogue: “Though chronically out of work, freelancers nonetheless wish to appear employable, and there’s nothing like a briefcase for conveying the message. Still, a […]

Transit Bag

From the Fall 1988 catalogue: : “With a bag such as this, Rick could have protected letters of transit from Casablanca’s humid summers. Ilsa could have slipped the strap over her shoulder, leaving both arms free to hug Rick goodbye. And victor could have stood stoically by, wondering how this rugged bag manages to improve […]

Israeli Paratrooper Duffle and Backpack

These Israeli Paratrooper duffle bags and backpacks–matching companions to the Israeli Paratrooper Briefcase–were never listed in the catalog and, based on the use of the “Safari and Travel” tag, were likely in stores after the end of the Safari era. We know that the Israeli Paratrooper Briefcase ran into at least 1989 after the Safari […]

Carry on Luggage: Garment Bag

These Italian made bags debuted in Fall 1986 and had an issue devoted to them by name, the Fall 1986 Update “Carry On!” catalogue. They replaced the Italian made Linea Viaggio line. “To create our new luggage, we went to Italy, where we found our fabric–tightly woven, water-repellent Belgian linen–at the factory that’s used it for 40 […]

Essential Bag

A long running item, the Essential Bag was originally Leather and Linen from Italy, issued throughout 1985. Beginning in Fall 1986 it was changed to all leather from Brazil. In Fall 1988 the bag was issued in black leather. “Exactly the right size for essentials–everything you don’t want to leave in your hotel room.” Leather […]

Minister of Finance Checkbook Cover

This concept for a Minister of Finance Checkbook cover was actually around from the very start! One of the surprises I came across in Catalogue #1 was a Minister of Finance Checkbook Cover; We don’t know what the original looked like exactly, though the drawing does tell us the insignia of the Minister of Finance […]

Leather and Linen Document Bag

This fine bag debuted in Fall 1984 and running until Summer 1987 when it was converted to Cotton Canvas for one seaon before being redesigned as the Canvas and Leather Document Bag. It remains today an essential bag for me. Banana Republic was ahead of its time in creating the perfect smart phone bags. From […]

Carry-On! Luggage: Globetrotter

These Italian made bags debuted in Fall 1986 and had an issue devoted to them by name, the Fall 1986 Update “Carry On!” catalogue. They replaced the Italian made Linea Viaggio line. “To create our new luggage, we went to Italy, where we found our fabric–tightly woven, water-repellent Belgian linen–at the factory that’s used it for 40 […]

Australian Schoolbag

Running from Summer 1986 to Spring 1987, this wonderful twill and leather bag was also made in pigskin leather in 1988. Photos below from a September 2020 eBay sale. From the 1986 catalogue: “We took a full-sized suitcase to Australia, but needed a smaller bag from which to conduct daily business. So we ducked into […]

Israeli Paratrooper Briefcase

Without a doubt this is one of the best remembered items from 1980s Banana Republic, a book bag for countless students, I took full advantage of its generous pen holders and used it as a sketchbook carrying bag for many years. Even today it’s a great laptop bag, though a padded laptop sleeve would be […]

True Surplus: Swedish Bandolier

A favorite item is the Authentic Swedish Bandolier.  Banana Republic was selling these “authentic relic” surplus bandoliers in their catalogs from Holiday 1984 until Fall 1985. UPDATE: Discovered the Bandolier was offered as early as 1979!! See below.  From the catalog: “One never has enough pockets on safari. This leather bandolier with canvas insets offers […]

Linea Viaggio Duffel Bag

These bags were available from Spring 1985 through Spring 1986. Abridged from the catalog: “Traveling with natural fabrics is as dear to our hearts as the lure of the open road. As the premier travel clothing business in the nation, we have certain standards to uphold. Up til now, we’ve been able to offer very […]

Haversack

This Italian made bag is a fantastic artist’s bag, just the right size for a sketchbook or tablet, with pockets for pencils and a pouch for supplies, it’s unquestionably stylish and made to last. I actually prefer it to the Israeli Paratrooper briefcase for those trips when I don’t need a laptop bag. It’s one […]

British Correspondent’s Bag and Photojournalist’s Bag

I recently set out to understand the differences among popular leather and linen English bags Banana Republic produced: The Low Profile Bag, The Correspondent’s Bag, Photojournalist Bag and Mr. Brady’s Traveler’s Bag. As is described in the Fall 1984 “Outfitters Who Outlasted the Empire” catalog the Zieglers contracted with many old English factories to produce […]

Canvas and Leather Document Bag

“A portable outside pocket that lets you keep passport, currency, traveler’s checks, credit cards, and tickets on your person. Side and bottom gussets, so you can easily add a souvenir.” The leather and linen look was so popular and with good reason. These Italian crafted bags are both stylish and utilitarian. The slim design of […]

The Ex-Hunting Bag

From Holiday 1986, the Ex-Hunting bag is a generous leather purse made in Italy, inspired a hunting bag found in Milan. Thanks to blog reader Lauren for sharing hers with us!  

Women’s Leather Money Belt

This attractive and practical english leather wallet and keychain belt is so perfectly Banana Republic Travel and Safari I’m surprised it wasn’t a staple of the catalogs for years. Instead this was only seen Summer 1986, Fall and Holiday, and Spring 1987. From the catalogue: “A liberating alternative to the cumbersome handbag-cum-wallet system: and inch-wide […]

The Gamekeeper’s Bag

This remarkable photo was sent in by designer Louisa Voisine, who organized fashion shows in the mid-80s to promote BR to the entertainment industry at the Beverly Hills store, creating the BR Studio Services Department. The late model John Allen McClatchey III is posed with a Gamekeeper’s Bag. The Gamekeeper’s Bag is a jute mesh […]