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C California Style

Looks from the Spring 2014 presentation.

All American

by C California Style

Gap’s new creative director pushes the boundaries of red, white and blue.

When Gap handpicked Rebekka Bay, the veteran Danish designer who launched H&M’s COS and had never actually lived in America, to be creative director, it raised the question: Will she be the fashion world’s next Jenna Lyons?

As bloggers deliberated the possibilities, Bay settled into her New York office last October and set to work designing her first collection for the 45-year-old S.F. company. “One of the things I did do was to reread Take Ivy [written by Japanese stylists in 1965], which was a great field study into American campus style. [It] left me with an understanding of American style being less about trends and more about attitude.”

The new approach is perhaps just the ticket to bring the heritage brand up to snuff. The relatively fashion-forward spring collection, inspired by “the big outdoors—from the surf on the West Coast to the pastel colors of Miami’s Art Deco architecture,” is Gap through a sleek, minimalist lens (daring a Céline or Jil Sander comparison or two). Bay explains, “I am learning how far I can stretch an iconic piece before it loses its iconic status.” So far, it feels like a perfect fit. gap.com.

Edited by Kelsey McKinnon.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Gap.