Bananas for Anna, or the Karenins are about to split

What do Tolstoy, a clothing chain, Elif Batuman and a Hollywood blockbuster have in common? Nothing. But wait, that was before the launching of Banana Republic’s Anna Karenina clothing line to profit from the publicity of the new Tolstoy novel adaptation about to hit the theaters. Elif Batuman gets thrown in there because the LA Times article uses Batuman’s twitter tag @BananaKarenina for the headline. My first impression was that it was the clothing line’s actual name and I was wondering if she sued the clothing conglomerate how she was also going to write an article about the case (because who else should?).

I can’t say I have any strong opinions about the clothes themselves, or about almost any clothes for that matter, but they have names like “the faux-fur Sonia stole,” which sounds to me more like a scene from a Dostoevsky novel (Hey Sonia, next time steal a real fur).

My favorite caption in the article reads “The ladies in the film of Anna Karenina wear elaborate ornamental hats,” something which you and I can’t afford to do, though Banana Republic does offer a hat that will “keep your ears warm” for only $59.50. Then again, maybe my favorite caption actually is “An elaborate tableau from the film Anna Karenina, which has lush costumes and sets” showing a still from the film of a not very lush or elaborate set. Uh oh, I’m looking forward to this. The film opens this month.

By the way, Gap and other clothing stores whose names I can’t remember, with work on a Master and Margarita adaptation potentially underway it’s probably time to get started on that satanic ball, black cat suit, psychiatric patient clothing line.

Photo – Greta Garbo as Anna Karenina wearing a hat that kept her ears warm in the 1935 production that was characterized by lush costumes and sets (and in which she wore elaborate ornamental hats too, just not in this particular shot, perhaps because it was cold).

Update – On deeper reflection I had to change the title of this article. And people said Saturday morning cartoons would yield no cultural payback later on in life. Hah!

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