Sunday 5 August 2012

Safari looks II: Color and sewing designs/patterns

So you're setting off on your own Safari Hunt for the perfect look for you? Here are the patterns you need.

This year many designers showed "safari looks" which on the catwalk can range from the conservative jacket to your way-out-there jungle sarong. In fact, if you look carefully, designers are always returning to this fashion trope. Sometimes a magazine like Elle will just do a whole page of safariennes, and the color scheme is almost always khaki, sand, white, black and brown, but sometimes they give you one jolt of unexpected color. This makes the safari jacket very casual.
(I've always been fond of this number and wonder why I haven't turned out a turquoise safari jacket yet. Oh, dear, life for the sewist is just too short.) 
Look how Givenchy took it up to the heights of Haute with that fantastic hat against a chic black and white combo. 

But basically, we're talking about desert colors. These jackets are almost always unlined. So this is a cheap sew. All you need is brown, taupe, white, tobacco or khaki green cotton, a lot of plain buttons and a lot of thread. These babies need topstitching all over, which is why they last a lifetime in the field.

Here below are some nifty designs in no specific order that give you an idea of the variety of safari silhouettes you can play with. I've mixed them up chronologically to illustrate the timelessness of this wardrobe theme. I've even included some truly ancient numbers, dating back even as far as the late seventies (by Christian Aujard) and an interesting Indochine version by YSL from the eighties.

(And I'm not even going to drag you through all my safari dress options, which are really just shirtdresses featuring plackets/pockets/epaulets. I've got one by Ralph Lauren which took to me Singapore and back for two years.)

Can you spot which one I used for my white canvas jacket to Croatia?

So, now sew your jacket, vest or shirt. Or take a trusted shirt/shirtdress pattern and add epaulets to the shoulders and flapped pockets to the bodice. In any event, it's best to have a fitted bodice and a waist defined either by cut or belt.
In Part III, I'll talk about styling the safari look.
(Part III follows)

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