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MENSWEAR DIARIES: SPIRIT OF SAFARI

16.02.16

The safari jacket was once the preserve of game hunters on sandy plains. Unable to ignore its stylish design, successive generations of well-dressed men have ensured that this wardrobe perennial transcended its utilitarian origins to become a bona fide menswear classic. This season at Reiss we've rediscovered the design and recast a once purely functional piece of outdoor kit as a luxury outerwear must-have.

ON SAFARI

Like many of menswear’s most loved staples, the safari jacket (or field jacket as it's also known) began life as a military garment. Most often woven from lightweight drill cotton and featuring epaulettes, a belted waist and four bellows pockets, the style was first drafted up for use by the British Armed Forces in the tropics during the late nineteen century.

Flash-forward over a century and a half and the garment has become prized for its combination of classic and casual style.

Gracing the backs of some of the most memorable men in style history - Clark Gable, Yves Saint Laurent and Prince Charles can all be considered fans - after becoming the clothing de rigueur on the African Savanna have helped the piece to achieve a longevity which spans three different centuries.

Though the style has been re-imagined countless times, nostalgic notions of days spent hunting big game remain inseparable from the jacket’s design DNA.

Prince Charles in Papua New Guinea, 1984

ON REISS

For SS16 the Universe green suede belted jacket retains the key elements of the safari jacket, but has been designed with the modern man’s wardrobe in mind. Lightweight drill cotton has given way to luxurious deep green suede and epaulettes have been removed for modernity, but you'll still see the bellows pockets and waist belt which are so integral to the original design's appeal.