2014 marked the 110th anniversary of O. Henry's 'Cabbages & Kings'. In 'Cabbages & Kings', William Sydney Porter who wrote under the name Orrin Henry made popular the famous political term "Banana Republic". A "Banana Republic" (a plutocracy) was described as a politically unstable nation usually governed by the military. Its economy depended heavily on one commodity for export for its income, such as fruit - banana. One reviewer remarked, "Written by a less able hand than Mr Henry’s, the book might have been a sad jumble...but as it is, one finds a joy in its very obscurity."
During the cold war, one scholar said of Russia, "For goodness sake, remember that this place isn't either '1984' or a banana republic. It isn't '1984' because it's a human society...with its own built-in human problems. And it isn't a banana republic because in most ways this is a strong society, and it isn't going to be thrown by its problems – at any rate in the foreseeable future." In the United States, it was noted, "the very essence of America's democracy, the basis of which is the rule of law, not the rule of man...There has never been much danger in the United States of a uniformed elite coveting political power. America may be many things, but it's not a banana republic."
After the cold war ended, Boris Yeltsin's political adviser told the press, "The building of democracy in Russia is still going on, and we should not expect immediate, grandiose results. The very fact that for 2 years (1991-92) we've had a democratic regime and we have not had any major social uprising, no wave of blood, no disaster – that's already a success. Russia, by its very nature, involves compromises; between Muslim and Christian culture, between European and Asian history, between central authority and autonomous regions. No parliament, alone, can balance those forces. We need a person who symbolises the unity of the state, who can act as ultimate arbiter and peacemaker."
In 2008, the Banana Republic clothing chain celebrated its 30th anniversary. Founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in 1978, by 2008 it was pointed out, "Banana Republic came from the safari but it has evolved into an accessible luxury brand which is all about the best of city style...It's all about lifestyle. We're all about inspiring the individual but we don't dictate what they should wear. We're saying, 'Take it and make it your own,' and that's what our passion is all about, to discover, create and share the best of city style. We target men and women with modern souls, who are inspired to live everyday with their own individual style."
Mel shared, "The ability to move, to travel was the impetus behind the creation of Banana Republic. We were its first customers, true. We couldn’t find this clothing anywhere. But we have always been driven by wanderlust and we wanted to create a life where we could move. It was important to us...We didn't go into it thinking it was a huge market...I did grow up in the ‘60s. I never did lose my taste for (safari clothes). The reason we began was that it was unavailable. It just wasn’t anywhere to be found." Patricia added, "We have always traveled a great deal, and what we need in various climates and cultures is what we keep in mind in supplying the stores. Safari also is a word for journey. Most of us have an occasion to take a journey now and then. It doesn't have to be to a jungle."
"There’s always been the literary legacy with Banana Republic," Mel made the observation. "We felt there was always a book waiting. The whole thing was a flight of fancy, but there was also a certain sensibility in distinguishing between the tourist and the traveler. The tourist breakfasts on scrambled eggs in the hotel coffee shop; the traveler makes his way to the wharf for hot rolls, anchovies, and olives. The tourist takes only taxis; the traveler samples the buses and subways and, most of all, walks...The tourist eats in restaurants where other tourists eat; the traveler gravitates to places where heavy drinkers argue local politics and neighborhood couples slouch on each other at corner tables and where, if something has a bone in it, you damn well pick it up and gnaw it."
Mel maintained, "We fly a lot and many of them are all-night flights. We thought, 'Wouldn’t it be great to have a one-piece garment for transoceanic trips?' So we designed that all-night flight suit." "Summer was about the cool couple living in a modern world with the safari in the background," it was explained, “but Fall, really, is a nod to our heritage, albeit in a modern and bold way. Instead of looking back completely and saying, 'Hey, let's celebrate 30 years,' we're looking forward. We're focusing on some of the classics, and making it more professional and relevant to today. We're taking it to the next level."