The effort is underpinned by a selection of more than a dozen limited-edition direct-to-consumer women's styles curated by Palermo, which will be available for immediate purchase live from Banana Republic's Spring 2017 New York Fashion Week through its website and its Flatiron location in New York City.
The Palermo effort comes after a similar collaboration with Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star Kevin Love, who earlier this year was tapped as Banana Republic's first men's global style ambassador. The Palermo and Love campaigns debut globally this September in stores and through marketing efforts.
Banana Republic has been a drag on Gap Inc.’s fortunes for several quarters now. While the Old Navy brand has regained its footing as the unit that buoys Gap’s results, same-store sales were down 3% at the flagship Gap brand, and down 9% at Banana Republic in the most recent quarter.
Gap’s July report was its 15th negative monthly report in the past 16 months, the longest stretch of weak comps since a 22-month stretch in 2008-2009, according to research firm Retail Metrics. This is not the monthly or quarterly reporting that analysts have been looking for in Gap, a once iconic American apparel retailer that has failed to regain favor with consumers.
But analysts do see some signs of life at Banana Republic. “Looking to Gap and Banana Republic, we continue to see improvement in the assortments,” Guggenheim’s Howard Tubin wrote in a blog last month. “Banana Republic is delivering more commercially friendly patterns and key item offerings.”
The collaboration with Palermo could help accelerate that. She is widely seen as lending a singular influence on fashion and style at a time when few clear trends have emerged, something that was lamented by Gap CEO Art Pack just last week. That situation is underscored by Banana Republic’s campaign to “Turn it up,” what the brand calls a “call-to-action” to “make more of an effort to dress stylishly with individuality.”