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L.A. Designer Trina Turk to Create New Line for Banana Republic

After Banana Republic's "Mad Men" collection proved to be a big hit, the retail outlet decides to launch a collection with Turk.

If you thought it's just film that influences fashion, think again. We have a feeling the spring 2013 collections, which will be shown in the fall, will have a heavy dose of Downton Abbey in them: British Edwardian looks from the World War I period. And now Gap Inc.'s GPS company has said that Banana Republic's Mad Men collection helped the brand post its best first-quarter sales ever this year.

As a result of Banana Republic's North American stores having a 5 percent sales hike after the Mad Men collection came out, the most in two years, the brand has decided to appoint a name designer for another in-store collection, this time L.A.'s Trina Turk, known for her bright colors, prints and all-around summery collections. She's the queen of Palm Springs chic. Interestingly, her clothes also have a retro 1960s feel to them.

The Mad Men collection -- created with series designer Janie Bryant -- and the new Trina Turk Banana Republic collection are the first BR collections with outside designers. It makes sense. If brands like H&M, Target and Macy's can pull in designer names for temporary collections, why not Banana Republic? In BR's case, though, both collections are based on Southern California designers.

“Both of these are great co-branding opportunities,” Jennifer Davis, an analyst at Lazard Capital Markets in New York, said in an interview. “Trina Turk and Mad Men are brand-appropriate for Banana Republic. It’s smart; their customer relates to it. Trina is so much more color than we’d ever be, so much more print than we’d ever be, so it’s great to actually work with something that’s very different from who we are.”

Turk, who has her own boutiques and shopping website, is best known for her colorful printed women’s apparel. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are among stores that sell her merchandise, ranging from $174 shell print bikinis to $338 Henna print strapless dresses. The collection, which includes swimwear, towels and dresses, will be introduced June 7 with a presale on Gilt Groupe's website.

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