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Backlash Mounts Against Banana Republic’s Latest Mad Men Collection

Coco Rocha in Banana Republic's Mad Men collection.
Coco Rocha in Banana Republic’s Mad Men collection. Photo: Banana Republic

Banana Republic’s latest Mad Men collection, fronted by Coco Rocha, came out today in time for the show’s sixth season, which starts April 7. When the campaign was posted on the brand’s Facebook page, however, numerous commenters complained about how thin Rocha is compared to Mad Men’s curvaceous characters. As a successful model and famous woman, Rocha has endured plenty of criticisms about her body over the years (too thin, too fat, etc.), and it’s pointless to fuel that conversation. But in this case, people are objecting that Rocha doesn’t reflect the hourglass silhouettes popularized by the show’s costumes, not that there’s anything “wrong” with her weight in general. A few samples from Banana Republic’s Facebook wall [blanket sic]:

That woman is too skinny to accurately portray the time in which “Mad Men” takes place.

Not loving the bony girl! Have you people watched mad men? Nobody looks like that . Thanks preppy brand for once again reminding regular girls that they just are not skinny enough. Cute print though

I don’t understand how you never show Christina Hendricks model likes, so we can see how a dress would look on a female with breasts!

Indeed, one of the major reasons why everyone loves designer Janie Bryant’s taste so much is that she makes womanly figures like that of Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan Harris, look so fabulous. For Banana Republic to show Bryant’s collection on a runway-size model, no matter how lovely and healthy she is in real life, seems like a wasted opportunity for them to market the collection to the women who want it the most — women who see Joan and Peggy and even Megan in those nip-waisted, curve-flattering outfits and think, “I could look good in that, too!”

In the past, Bryant’s collaborative collections have been modeled by Shalom Harlow and Agnete Hegelund, both of whom are very slender as well — so it’s interesting that the backlash is so intense this time. The photographs may have something to do with it, as they’re angled in such a way that Rocha’s limbs look rather spindly and out of proportion with her head. But it’s also worth noting how mod this new collection is; it’s much more Megan than Joan (more Twiggy than Liz Taylor, etc.). Perhaps the designs and the ads are meant to reflect the shifting trends in female body type that occurred in the mid-to-late sixties. Don’t worry, though — there’s already proof Joan will manage to find ravishing clothes to wear.

Backlash Against Banana Republic’s Mad Men Line