Fashionable Lit: Dress Like Anna Karenina for $500

See the first looks—and one exclusive sketch—from the Banana Republic collection

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Courtesy of Banana Republic

A year after Banana Republic introduced its Mad Men capsule collection—a collaboration that helped the retailer post its highest first-quarter sales earlier this year—the company is launching a new line inspired by Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy’s epic 1877 novel about life, love and affairs among Russian aristocrats in the mid-19th century. The limited edition items will hit stores Oct. 30 in conjunction with the film’s November release.

The 76-piece collection was designed by Banana Republic with styling input from Jacqueline Durran, the film’s costume designer, with pieces for men and women. Drawing on the glamorous fashion of Russia’s high society, such as velvet fabrics and dramatic brocade patterns, the retailer tried to make pieces that referenced the film but embodied a modern take. For example, a decadent, red evening gown worn by Anna Karenina—a central costume in the movie—has been reinterpreted as a knee-length shift that can be worn to work under a blazer (see the sketch, exclusive to TIME, at right). “Looking back through history and then adapting older fashions to forward-looking pieces is a classic element of design,” says Simon Kneen, Banana Republic’s creative director.

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That was similar to the approach Durran took in creating the film’s costumes. “From the first meeting, [director] Joe Wright told me he wanted a hybrid style that mixed the sensibility of the 1870s with the strong silhouettes of the 1950s,” Durran said. Many of the luxe furs and huge baubles seen in the film have made their way to the capsule collection at prices that range from $29.50 for jewelry to $500 for a blazer. “These were really the signifiers of Russian luxury,” says Durran. “These different textures—and the combination of various elements—were at the core of what we wanted to create.”


Courtesy of Banana Republic

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