The Banana Republic opportunity appealed to Do, who has come to be known as one of fashion’s least attention-seeking designers of the moment, wearing masks in public and posing for photos with his back turned to the camera, precisely because the brand does collaborations so infrequently. “I feel like the industry is going through sort of a collaboration exhaustion, and I didn’t want to add any more to that conversation if I didn’t have anything new to say,” he explained at BR’s headquarters in lower Manhattan. “If we do this, I said, ‘we have to do it in a way where we don’t sacrifice any design integrity.’” When the offer came in, he spent some time getting reacquainted with the brand and found himself impressed. It should not be confused with any of the proliferating fast-fashion mall chains. “After visiting the stores,” he said, “I realized the quality is really amazing.”
Do comes by his own design integrity via an early obsession with Tumbler as much as by his training at FIT. A stint in the ready-to-wear atelier at Celine, where he worked under Phoebe Philo, refined his clean, minimal-ish aesthetic but his own work is simultaneously sexier and more androgynous than his former boss’s output. The pieces in the BR x Peter Do capsule were fitted on both women and men, which is a process he’s refined at his own label, and will be offered with just one category of unisex sizing.
“It’s not about brands dictating how people should dress; it’s about meeting customers where they are and inspiring them to make it their own,” says Meena Anvary, BR’s VP of Marketing, of the company’s attraction to Do. “With Peter Do, a brand that grew organically on social media and is so connected to his audience, it was a natural fit from the beginning.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Peter Do collection without tailoring. The four-piece suit he’s designed for Banana Republic—tuxedo blazer, trousers, utility shirt, and skirt—looks like something you’d see on his own runway, but the waistband on the pants reminded this writer of a pair of khaki shorts ordered from BR’s famous illustrated Travel & Safari catalog in the mid-1980s. Do’s Tumblr followers may not know this, but in its first incarnation, before it infiltrated malls across America, Banana Republic sold reworked vintage military surplus. I carried its “authentic Israeli paratrooper briefcase” throughout high school (for a visual this site is useful).