Even if your idea of an outdoor expedition is window-shopping along Queen Street, there’s no denying the exploratory appeal of spring’s wild wears. The SS14 runways were rife with safari style references, from Suno’s zebra-printed ponchos to the sumptuous crocodile culottes at Hermés.
Designers’ attraction to the aesthetic stems from its ability to stand the test of time. Traditionally, safari jackets were designed with a self-belt, epaulette style shoulder straps, and expandable pockets that were ideal for carrying photographic equipment such as film, lenses, and flashes. The look received mainstream recognition when Ernest Hemingway brought it to popularity in the 1950s.
One of Hollywood’s first interpretations of the iconic style appeared in 1955’s Mogambo, which starred the ineffable beauties Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner. Sporting cargo-pocket button downs, vivid neckerchiefs, and side-split skirts, they were the epitome of elegant adventuresses. YSL later went on to put a feminine twist on the characteristically masculine design, with a 1968 spread in Vogue Paris featuring Veruschka in his Saharienne jacket, cementing its place in the pages of fashion history.
Today’s rendition of the look focuses on earthy palettes and utilitarian details that are perfect for transitioning into warmer weather. Animal-printed silk blouses make for versatile statement pieces, while a cropped jacket and jersey pencil skirt give an update to the traditional safari suit. A woven grosgrain hat or round sunnies with cheetah-like spots can provide sun protection while still evoking an exotic, glamorous vibe.
When it comes to shoes, sturdy straps and natural textures like bamboo and wood lend themselves to an eclectic, well-travelled charm. Or, since it was Earth Day yesterday, consider the merits of more ecologically sustainable options. Nobody does eco-chic better in the luxury market than Stella McCartney, who exclusively uses vegan leather and faux skins in all of her designs. Other green brands include industry favourite A Peace Treaty, who are renowned for their ethically produced designs created by locally-sourced artisans. Newcomers Simon + Krull implement byproduct fish leather, vegetable dye, and cruelty-free ultra suede fabric in their gorgeously finished line of handbags. Mega-retailer H&M has also recently jumped on the eco-bandwagon with the release of their CONSCIOUS Collection, which boasts designs made from responsible materials like recycled polyester.
So even though we may still be waiting for the weather to catch up, at least you can prime your wardrobe for the great outdoors in the meantime. Get out there and get green!
How will you be sporting the safari trend this summer? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.