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2012 April 6

Banana Republic's Simon Kneen Discusses Travel Pastimes

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(NEW YORK) Per usual, the Banana Republic lasses and gents are sharply clad and ready for adventurous pursuits at work and play for fall. Your Daily caught up with the brand's creative director, Simon Kneen, at Wednesday evening's presentation at IAC's glossy HQ. Amid carts of fresh flowers and Ladurée macarons boxed up to go plus a blitz of top editrices like Stefano Tonchi, Robbie Myers, and Joanna Coles waltzing in an endless stream to effuse to Kneen over his latest, The Daily got the dish on how Kneen occupies himself in the backseat of cabs (it definitely doesn't involve Taxi TV), the influx of leather in his latest collection, oh, and that BR flash catwalk takeover on a Virgin America flight!

What's new in the world of BR?
We're rediscovering leather! There are lots of separates in it. Also, the beautiful, rich damask fabrics we worked with in some of the skirts feel like something new. I'm really loving the mix of textures; it's not about a head-to-toe uniform this season.

Where is this girl on-the-go going?
I always imagine people sitting in the back of cabs, because that's where a lot of New Yorkers spend a lot of their time. There's something so unromantic about the back of a cab, when you're getting out you want to look fabulous! You want to come out of a cab looking like you were in a limo. 

Are you often in the back of cabs?
Unfortunately, yes. Or hailing them on the corners. Meaning, when I'm having them stolen from me by other New Yorkers. 

Do you have any aggressive cab-nabbing tactics?
No, I never get aggressive! There are always a million cabs in New York, so there's always another one coming along. 

How do you keep yourself occupied once you've flagged one down?
The first thing I do is turn off Taxi TV. Always! It drives me crazy. No one likes them. But I also make sure the seat is clean before I get in. I've often sent [the cab] on their way if it isn't clean. 

Onto another form of transport! What's the response been like to BR's chic ambush of a Virgin America flight last month?
Oh, that was a little miracle right there! David Gandy Facebooked me afterwards; it was his first time on the side of a plane, because we put a decal on there. The staff had practiced enough, and it all went super smoothly! 

What was your biggest concern beforehand?
We were just terrified about being delayed at JFK. Or, that there would be terrible turbulence and no one would be allowed to get out of their seats. 

Did you get any scared or peeved feedback from in-flight customers?
Everyone had so much fun, are you kidding me?! Although I'm not sure how happy I would've been if my plane had been hijacked by another brand. 

You look for clean seats and are anti-Taxi TV in cabs; what do you do on planes?
I go into a catatonic state. I used to read and do all of my work, but now I use flights to catch up on my sleep. I unfortunately pass out like a baby. 

Loving the swank IAC digs as a backdrop. What else would you like to see in this space, besides your BR designs?
This is one of my favorite locations in New York! I heard they managed to get some cars in here, to use it as a showroom...vintage cars would be great in this space, too.

Any idea where you'll do the next presentation, after fab spots like IAC, Glass Houses gallery space, and The Lion?
We're in New York; if we run out of places here, you've run out of places everywhere! 


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