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)