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Fashion: Adventure Wear

The Style Of The Wild Elegant and Chic, Adventure Wear Is Not Just for Safaris Anymore
Kimberly Cihlar
From the Print Edition:
J.P. Morgan, Mar/Apr 00

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Over the last two seasons, Levy has "lightened up the fabrics, modernizing and re-newing them. I've spoken to hunters and tried to understand what they wanted and what was lacking in the collection. The clothes had been incredibly beautiful, but very heavy," he admits. "I like the tweed jackets, love them, but if they're so heavy and not comfortable, they cannot be truly protective."  

Levy has reworked the pieces that complement the Holland & Holland hunting accoutrements, using very light tweeds and fabrics, coating many of them with a Mylar or Teflon finish to make them waterproof. "Now, everything is more real, more practical," says the designer. Whimsical in nature, Levy has incorporated the look of Holland & Holland's hallmark wood grain into scarves that look like sticks. He has also artfully created a cashmere scarf that has a rifle motif.  

Orvis, founded in Manchester, Vermont, in 1856 by Charles F. Orvis, is the oldest sporting goods mail-order company in the world. Originally specializing in fly fishing equipment, Orvis casts a wider net today. After developing and introducing the ventilated fly reel--still the prototype for all modern fly reels--Orvis later added other reels, flies and tackle. Since its purchase in 1965 by Leigh Perkins, the company's catch of the day includes a lifestyle conglomeration of fowl-shooting clothing, shotguns, traditional country clothing, artwork and gifts.

The Perkins family, made up of avid sportsmen who remain devoted to country living, promotes not only fashions aimed at the sporting life, but fly fishing and shooting schools oriented to educating students with the proper techniques and good conservation habits as a way of life. As an ongoing program, Orvis is intricately involved in the preservation of fish and wildlife habitats across the country.  

High-quality ad-venture wear exists not only in the well-respected sporting goods institutions. The sporting lifestyle influences high-end designers worldwide. Ralph Lauren has built a fashion empire out of clothes made for manor dwellers. Hunting jackets and fishing vests serve as a source of inspiration for items found in some form, season after season, throughout Lauren's collections.

The designer even usurped the name Polo--that paragon of horse sports elitism--when he created his company. Other designers, such as Jean Paul Gaultier, include the traditional riding coat, or redingote, in their collections. All of which goes to say that adventure dressing--whether for safari or dressage--can be an adventure in and of itself.  

Kimberly Cihlar, a freelance writer living in New York City, covers fashion and lifestyle.

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