He describes the lifestyle of Safari as dangerous, bloody, romantic and luxurious. In a time when colonial life was about the spread of the British Empire, into the last frontiers of then British East Africa, now Kenya, and in many cases heralding a fresh new start in life for some of its entrepreneurs.
Wealthy British adventurers combined all the pop and grandeur of their British lifestyles in the African bush and no expense was spared.
Even Teddy Roosevelt went on Safari spending millions and hiring a small army of people. He had all the luxuries and then state of the art equipment (binoculars), they called him King of America. It’s also argued he was the one who set the style of luxury that is what we think of as today – the quintessential Safari look.
It was a time of extraordinary contrasts with elegance and luxury combined with the wild African plains. This brought about some rather wayward lifestyles as the excitement of hunting created a Safari sex appeal. Seducer hunters and the ‘happy valley club’ went to the extreme of Safari and even tarnished the reputation of the society of the day.
Despite the hedonism, Richard summed up the true spirit of Safari as exhilaration & freedom. Tough lessons have been learnt and now a strong sense of conservation rules and it is a good thing. The mighty & majestic African landscape is one to protect than to exploit.
The last days of Empire appear to be the final party. A stylish affair in an exotic location. Today we take inspiration from the positive side of Safari & the British Colonial past.
It has become a classic style loved by designers like Ralph Lauren who swoon over this romantic and decadent era, capturing all the key style elements of luxury and simplicity combined.
The style is further spurred on by the much loved Out of Africa novel, playing on the evocative images of Africa in its colonial heyday. There is such a romantic and raw element in this look. Heavily masculine with a soft feminine edge to balance.
The basic elements of Safari are rich natural textures such as wood, leather, brass, rattan, cotton & canvas combined with a black & white colour scheme. Keep things striking, simple. Its about quality over quantity with these items. Here’s some inspiration on what to look for.
And with these elements you can easily create the post colonial safari look with all its romantic and luxurious styling. Add the contrasts of rough vs smooth, black vs white, fine vs textured and you’ll be able to build up the layers that make up this defined style.