An Empty Coast

An Empty Coast
My latest novel

Monday, January 19, 2009

Cool, stylish and practical...



No, not me, Legion of Fans (LOF) – I’m talking about these hip new threads that I’m wearing (though I am a firm believer that clothes maketh the man, so draw your own conclusions).

Yes, LOF… it’s back. Please note that you read it here first – the Safari Suit has officially returned and it was me who reinstated it to its rightful position as the pre-eminent item of gentleman’s leisure wear.

I had this sharp little number run-up while in Mombasa, Kenya, where I have been hard at work researching my next book, and different beers of Africa.

My personal tailor, Boniface, and his team of underage but hardworking seamstresses were able to have me measured, fitted and out on the streets in true Safari Style in a miraculous three days.

When I was a lad I couldn’t fail but be impressed by the sartorial elegance of various world leaders, movers and shakers and entertainers who graced the telly in their lime green or powder blue Safari Suits (known in the US, I believe, as Leisure Suits).

Perhaps nowhere outside of Africa was the Safari Suit embraced so wholeheartedly than in Australia, a country long known for its avant guard fashion sense.

Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, Arts Ministers Sir Les Patterson and Al Grasby, and the late King of Australian TV Graham Kennedy all knew that without your Safari Suit you were nothing in the fickle eye of the style-conscious public.




Flamboyant South Australian Premier Don Dunstan (pictured above) attended the opening of parliament in that terminally groovy State in a peach coloured Safari Suit, proving that it was possible to be cool, gay and a wearer of polyester all at the same time.

Aussie film icon Jack Thompson reportedly wore a lime green number on his way to THAT controversial photo shoot where he became Cleo Magazine’s first ever nude male centrefold. (Thompson was allegedly mobbed by hysterical female journalists from the magazine after the shoot and barely escaped their offices with his Safari Suit intact. In his rush to dress he forgot to put his shirt on. Hairy chested and still sporting the gold medallion he wore for the shoot, he pioneered what was to become THE look – Leisure Suit sans shirt, mais avec medallion).

Of course, what red blooded Australian could forget the sight of that other colossus of the 1970s fillum world, Alby Mangels, striding proudly down the red carpet at the Logies in his powder blue Safari Suit, with former Miss World runner-up Judy Green on his arm, to accept his award for best home-made documentary?

As at home in the veldt as it is on streets of Paris, Milan, New York, Sydney or West Wyalong, what better way is there to state, loud and proud, I am Australian, I am male, and I am sex symbol than with a Safari Suit?

Made of tough, durable, machine-washable drip-dry polyester, you won’t think twice about scrambling under your Land Rover to top up your gearbox oil, then handing it over to the Mrs to dunk in Omo, safe in the knowledge that you could be strutting your stuff under the mirror ball in the Rooty Hill RSL auditorium WSFM Jukebox Saturday Night discotheque just one short hour later.

For our African members, imagine fending off drunken adoring Kugels in the pool at Pretoriuskop then striding, wet, with Brutal Fruit in hand, back to your Toyota Bakkie, allowing the temperamental aircon to blow dry you on the drive home to Johannesburg, where you stride into Monte Casino like the King of the World for the Jacaranda FM Jukebox Saturday Night discotheque.

Yes, LOF, from the bush to the Big Smoke, the Safari Suit is back. Grrrrr ladies. Pass me my Old Spice and my over and under, and let the hunt begin.



(In a tragic postscript to this post it is with great and heartfelt regret that I report the passing of Monsieur Ted Lapidus, the actual designer of the modern Safari Suit, just last month. Quelle Horreur. You can read his obituary and the tribute paid to him by the small but sartorially elegant French President Monsieur Sarkozy here)


15 comments :

ali g said...

Cool Dude....very Jungle Jim! Mrs Blog must be itching to get at you. No medallions I hope?

Helen said...

LOL I am sure my father still has his from the 70s...see just goes t prove hold onto things long enough and back they come.

LittleAud said...

Go Green Jackets (excuse the pun!)

My Dad had a beige safari suit and I still have the photos! Woohoo

rhodie-jeff said...

Taking the p*ss (I hope). Or is it to go with your next book; 'Tarzan Swims Across the Desert'. Don't go near SA or Zim with that on! Go Mugambo!
rhodie-jeff

Anonymous said...

Come on! It may have been fashionable in Oz, but in 80's South Africa only sad old gits wore them.

Jennifer Hawkins said...

Tony, you look really nice and 6'6'too.... just my kind of man. If Mrs Blog ever leaves you look me up please!

Anonymous said...

Stubbies might have got it very wrong with Long Stubbies (the comfortable after hours casual pants with front coin pocket), but they are going to strike gold if they follow up the classic african look. My personal prediction is that the safari jacket and speedos will become very trendy on european beaches this summer.
P.S. Jen, I'm available!

dozcow said...

Hmmmn....
Maybe a bit tooo new ??

tonypark said...

Jen,

I know you're only human and can't help yourself, but if I've told you once, I've told you a hundred times - not in public, babe.
x
tp
Thanks, too, to everyone else for your comments. Well done, Jeff, for pointing out that Clark Gable also cut quite a dashing figure in his SS in Magambo.

rhodie-jeff said...

Don't forget the long socks and big hat with leopard skin hat-band. Ask Boniface to knock them up for you. Then you'll be a dead-ringer for Stuart Granger. And practice your smouldering, 'looking-into-the-sunset' expression. The Masai girls go for it in a big way.
Keep punching the keys.
Jeff

dozycow said...

Charlton Heston in The Naked Jungle - raw, rugged & sexy, oh what a look that was !

Helen said...

My brother had to wear a safari-suit as his school uniform for about 10 years. something tells me he won't be wearing one anytime soon...

I'm not sure I speak for all south africans, but generally wearing khahi is a sceaming sign that you're from overseas. Unless you count two-tone khaki/denim shirts, favoured by Afrikaans men everywhere.

I would say shame, but I would mean it in the british sense...

tonypark said...

I wish I'd gone to a school like that, Helen.

And don't worry, I don't wear my safari suit in the bush in South Africa - only for social occasions.

When in Kruger I never leave the tent without my two-tone shirt and my short shorts.

Helen said...

At least you're better than the old guys who run around Skukuza in speedos and crocs...

Glad you've got your short-shorts, you'd totally blend in then! And evne the lions wouldn't eat you!

Safari suit said...

Tony, that is indeed a very stylish safari suit. Nice one.