‘Every time I walk into a store, I come out wearing a new head-to-toe ensemble. I’m known for it,’ says Marissa Webb, nodding for emphasis. ‘I’m an emotional shopper. I just want to go explore.’
For Webb, the Creative Director of Banana Republic, zeal for exploration is built into the job description. Actually, make that job descriptions, plural: along with fostering Banana Republic’s newer, more fashionable identity, she runs an eponymous luxury fashion brand worn by the likes of Anna Kendrick. Her two roles couldn’t be more different, except that in both offices, she’s the boss.
And Webb, this morning the still point in a New York loft buzzing with stylists, assistants and photographers, is clearly a woman who relishes her place at the centre of it all. She’s emphatic, but with complete economy of gesture. In other words, just the sort of person you can envisage driving forward two fashion companies. ‘Looking back into the heritage of Banana Republic, it was a brand about exploration,’ she says. ‘So that’s how I see it now: A 360-degree lifestyle brand with the excitement of travelling, of being on the move.’ Which, you might say, sounds a lot like Marissa herself.
Born in South Korea and adopted along with her three siblings, Webb was raised mostly in Pennsylvania, USA.‘I grew up the dirtiest little tomboy ever,’ she says, wearing a silky olive-green blouse belted over second-skin jeans. ‘I’d be riding my dirt bike, playing baseball, then going off and reading magazines and sketching in the evening.’
She went to university with plans to study psychology, but transferred into the fashion illustration programme at Manhattan’s Fash More