Featured near the front in the introduction to the catalogue, “wardrobing” illustrations put entire looks together and really sold the whole idea of Banana Republic. Here are some of the best examples.
This shirt is thus-far unidentified in the catalogues. It appears to be a heavy twill. The tag bearing the words ASSEMBLED IN MEXICO has not been seen before. I’d guess this is from late in the run, possibly even after the catalogues stopped but before new branding came in. Just guessing.
From the Fall 1985 “Down Under” catalogue: “One-way boomerangs for war and hunting have been used in Africa and India and even Arizona, by the Hopi Indians. But the returning boomerang–the world’s image of the dinkum item–is found only Down Under. The aborigines employed it to imitate hawks, driving game birds into nets hung from […]
The collarless Caribbean Shirt was originally sold in Summer 1984 in discrete striped patterns. In Summer 1985 it returned in solid colors of blue chambray and white. From the catalogue: “Our classic collarless shirt, loose-fitting with full-cut sleeves, has always been our hands-down favorite for the tropics. It can be worn over a swimsuit or […]
This sweater was introduced in 1984 and sold through 1985, and in that short time was produced in a number of colors; most commonly in natural tones, but also yellow, blue and lilac. Made in Hong Kong it is composed of cotton and linen. From the catalogue: “A sweater with a nearly silky feel, but […]
From the Holiday 1986 catalogue: “When the trees start losing leaves, we start thinking in terms of nep wool. Beautiful, hardy, substantial wool–the kind that agrees with a brilliant fall morning but will also stand up to a winter storm. “Neps” are tiny light-colored nubs obtained by brushing the coats of sheep; we combine them […]
Among the most creative concepts to come from Banana Republic, these extravagant limited edition gift boxes were introduced for Holiday 1986 and returned in 1987. Die-cut printed cardboard, they were shipped or sold flat with a cardboard backer, and each included a novelty newspaper/gift wrap. They came in 3 sizes, the Bi-Plane being the smallest […]
From 1984, this Leather Bush Pilot Vest preceded the Leather Bush Vest. From the catalogue: “Bush pilots are a special breed–they’ll do somersaults to thrill the passengers, free falls in canyons just for fun. They’re rough, tough, worldly-wise and think they’re indestructible. Like it’s fearless namesake, this vest has the look of having rounded the […]
Presumably, this flier was sent to recent subscribers to the catalogue, because there is a message from Mel and Patrica Ziegler, which opens with “We hope you enjoyed your first catalogue…” The flier folds down to the size of a catalogue cover, in this case the 1985 Summer Wanderlust issue, and opens to poster size. […]
I found these images on Worthpoint, which archives old eBay auctions. Here’s one I really wish I had known about! A new-employee orientation package along with the original advertisement for the open positions at the new La Jolla, CA store.
Rare, exemplary or unusual items on eBay we are currently watching with great interest. Abandoned Republic receives a modest commission on each purchase when you go through our links.
I love, love, LOVE the Apocryphal Affiliates Shirts. The series of 4 was only sold in the summer 1986 catalog, and advertised as being in limited quantities and very rarely show up on eBay. The team at BR must have had a ball inventing these fictional colonialist sporting clubs and creating logos for each of […]
From the catalogue: “From Her Majesty’s former burden, the colony of India, comes our genuine Bombay Bowler. Water repellent khaki cotton covers the pith. Positively sunroof. For extra protection on particularly scorching days, we suggest dunking the hat occasionally in cool water.” The Pith Helmet was a staple of Banana Republic from the very beginning. […]
I’ve always had a hard time keeping these shirts straight in my mind, especially “Safari” vs “Expedition” so I created this guide as a cheat sheet. They all have different types and weights of fabric, but online pictures make it hard to tell. Pockets hold the most clues.
The Bombay Shirt was available for a long time, from 1982-1988 in the catalogs that I know of. The distinctive light cotton shirt sports no less than FIVE pockets with buttons: One on each sleeve and three on the chest, with epaulettes on the shoulders and tabs on the sleeve for holding up the rolled […]
Part of the Fall 1985 Australian Outback catalogue which included Australian football jerseys, Outback clothing and boomerangs, this Dinkum Aussie Football blanket is rare to see. Check out the April 2020 eBay auction.
The timing of this catalogue is a bit of a mystery, because there was a Christmas gift catalog (AND UPDATE) at the end of 1982 AND a Spring 1983 Catalog. #13. So is #12 an additional holiday catalog?? Or another Spring Catalog? It simply doesn’t say. The content is similar, but changing, and the #12 […]
This 1980 Fall/Winter catalogue features the first cover with a classic product still life scene. Patricia Gwilliam Ziegler spent a lot of time on this wonderful drawing of an African cabin filled with luggage and clothing, his and hers safari jackets hung upon the door and Mel’s typewriter in the corner next to a camera […]
Banana Republic stores were each lavishly decorated with authentic vintage items as well as custom made items that reflected colonial safari and travel themes. Each store famously had a surplus Army Willy Jeep in the window, and often large museum quality animals such as elephants. The shoplifting detectors were disguised in large tusks framing the […]
“Hi Abandoned Republic! I’ve the day off so wanted to get these treasures to you ASAP. They sort of tell a story of a starving artist (me) negotiating the perilous deep waters of the business world in the big city of San Francisco during the early 80s. “ –Kevin From the archives of staff artist Kevin Sarkki we […]
The 1987 Holiday Catalog (No. 34) and it’s update was the last holiday catalog Banana Republic did. The cover illustration by Rob Stein (at this point a freelancer for BR) is a marvelous Trompe-l’œil painting of the “Giftbook” with a handwritten shopping list and a pencil refracted through the shopper’s eyeglasses.
Possibly the best of the Christmas covers, this amazing illustration by renowned Bay Area painter Chester Arnold captures the spirit of BR adventure and the joy of Christmas giving. A sleigh loaded with the colorful new BR gift boxes has just departed the BR North Pole Expedition camp and Santa has traded in his red and […]
All aboard the Christmas train. This cover by Kevin Sarkki adds to the BR vehicle fleet. We’ve got Jeeps, Bi-planes, and now a Kenyan steam train festooned with Christmas decorations. Awesome. This is the last of the monotone catalogs. #17 would bring the full color treatment to the BR catalog as the new infusion of Gap […]
This is a rare treat. Mike Madrid generously sent me a copy of this catalog for the archive. I knew it would be duotone printed on newsprint paper, but I was really surprised that it was not trimmed like a standard BR catalog; it’s a printer’s sample that hadn’t been cut yet! This is an […]
Fall 1988 was the last season for the Banana Republic catalog, and the update to Catalog #38 would be the last Banana Republic catalog published. This is also the first catalog ever published with no mention of the founders of the company. Mel and Patricia Ziegler had resigned in the spring of 1988, this catalog […]
After hiking the Inca Trail in Fall 1986 we hit the Road to Mandalay for Fall 1987’s Catalog No. 33. This striking cover was done by BR staff artist An-Ching Chang. The travelogue from Mel and Patricia’s journey to Burma is a great read and reminds me of the Soviet Safari as they navigate past […]
Catalog 29, the Fall 1986 Catalog takes us On the Inca Trail with Mel and Patricia Ziegler. From start to finish, this a is a fantastic BR catalog, one of my personal favorites. The cover is a classic, tightly rendered and harmonious in color and composition. The cover artists in uncredited, sadly, but our money […]
G’Day, mates, let’s get started on Catalog #25, Fall 1985’s “Notes from the Outback”….The cover artist is uncredited. Rob Stein is always a good guess, but this watercolor feels different to me. Hard to say. It’s a great piece and it almost looks like concept art for a store window display. Is there no location […]
Page 2 and 3 of the Fall 83 catalog. The introduction is word for word the same as the message from the founders in later catalogs. The company has 4 stores now (there would be 95 in 5 years). These rare monotone catalogs are filled with items not seen in the more common catalogs, such […]
Here we come to the end of the Summer catalogs from Banana Republic, 1988’s No. 36. The catalog introduces Trips, the new travel magazine created by the Zieglers as a bold expansion of the Banana Republic world view. As was reported in this March 1988 article in the LA Times, the new venture was both a vehicle […]
We are now working our way through the Summer 1987 Catalog “Expatriates”. One of BR’s most memorable covers, this tightly rendered, delightful illustration by H. Craig Hannah, a Bay Area illustrator and a graduate of CCAC in Oakland. Many of the figures are instantly recognizable–Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Pable Picasso and Josephine Baker. Livingstone the […]
“Voices From Africa” presents Banana Republic at it’s height, in my opinion. The company is robustly expanding and catching on across the country and the world, and the artwork and product are top notch, but still funky and authentic. This catalog so perfectly sells you on the heart of the BR concept, exotic wanderlust, counterculture […]
There were TWO updates to the Summer 1985 Wanderlust catalog. The first featured a really fantastic pencil sketch cover from staff artist Rob Stein. Emulating a well worn sketchbook the drawing is very solid and well composed. The painted dragonfly that has landed on the book doesn’t catch your eye until second glance. It’s really […]
In this last part of the interview Mike talks about the end of the catalog era at Banana Republic and life at BR after the departure of the Zieglers. We all look forward to hearing much more about this time in the Ziegler’s upcoming memoir Wild Company. See also the History section for a selection […]
The Wanderlust issue begins with a fantastic illustration of the BR Air Corps on bivouac in North Africa. The bi-plane on one side, the company flag with a star on the flagpole…such a nice touch, why didn’t they sell flags along with aviator scarves and flight helmets? There are many nods to civilized life….a […]
This is the first of Mel and Patricia Ziegler’s many travelogues, the African Journal. The cover is her portrait of the two of them in full regalia at work in the African bush. As the cab driver in London hilariously asks, “Mr. and Mrs. Livingstone, I presume?” This 1984 catalog retains a lot of the […]
Here’s our first foray into the 1988 catalogs, the last year they were issued. The catalog is full of signs of change at Banana Republic. The masthead now says Travel Clothing Co. rather than Travel & Safari Clothing Co. That change was made in the Holiday 1987 catalog (not yet scanned). There are lots of […]
Banana Republic began issuing catalog updates in 1985. Each season had at least one, sometimes two. They are un-numbered. So Spring 1986 was #27, then it’s update was issued, then #28 Summer. The point of the update was to nudge the customer to make a purchase if they hadn’t already, to take a second look […]
The Spring 1986 Catalog #27 brings us another travel journal from Banana Republic founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler, but instead of a journey to the deepest, darkest jungle or some sun-baked savannah they take us to the heart of pre-Glasnost Russia. What a surprise this must have been to find in your mailbox. The cover […]
Let’s journey into the jungle that is the 1985 Spring Catalog #22…. 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 […]
Presented in it’s entirety, Catalog #21 the 1984 Christmas edition. I posted a page a day with a few comments for every page. This catalog seems to me to have the last vestiges of the original BR catalog, the next few years would bring a huge expansion of BR with bigger and more ambitious catalogs and […]
It’s been too long since I’ve added a new catalog to the archive! So many projects, so little time. Enjoy this one, it’s a great example of why you loved Banana Republic in the first place. Great clothes, artfully presented, with a heavy dose of wit, humor, and wanderlust. “Voices From Africa” presents Banana Republic […]
The 1985 Holiday Catalog has been scanned , tagged, and added to the archive. Enjoy!
Unbelievably exciting stuff to post! This weekend I got in touch with an artist credited on a 1986 catalog. Kevin Sarkki, it turns out, was the very first artist hired by Banana Republic back in 1982. I’ll be posting a fascinating interview with Kevin soon, but for now I’m excited beyond belief to share […]
Added 2 new covers to the covers gallery today. I’m pacing myself now, having added 2 complete catalogs to get the ball rolling. From here on out I think it’ll come in small bites, so keep coming back. Subscribe to the blog or join the Facebook page to get a hit of old BR when […]