STYLE: the Safari Jacket

STYLE.  Some of us have it, some of us don’t.  Some of us get it, some of us won’t.  Whether you’re born with STYLE or whether you’re working hard to acquire it, Platinum Al is here to help.  In this long-promised, much anticipated, new ongoing feature, I will share with you the secrets of STYLE.

Buckle up, compadre – this is gonna be a wild ride…

In this first STYLE instalment, let’s take a look at a classic male garment that’s sadly no longer seen as regularly as it should be.  Once an absolute essential for everyone from International Playboy to game show host, this forgotten wardrobe requirement is overdue a reappraisal.

The Safari Jacket: easily identified by the pockets – usually four; accompanied by epaulets and often a belt.  These features were originally military in design, with the aim being to hold supplies.  Lightweight and comfy, yet also practical and smart, it offers the ideal jacket for the adventurer in warmer weather.

The greatest exponent of this style is the late Sir Roger Moore.  As secret agent James Bond, 007, Moore was seen in numerous films not just in the de rigueur dinner suit but also several different Safari suits.  When you factor in his appearances in The Saint and The Persuaders, we have one of the legendary purveyors of this look.  No one is more stylish than Bond!

Roger Moore was my inspiration for adopting the Safari jacket, but let’s not forget many other stars who wore these garments.  Christopher Lee; Clark Gable; Clint Eastwood; Francis Ford Coppola; Richard Attenborough; Sid James and others in Carry On Up The Jungle.

Though the jacket is inherently macho in its Hemingway bravado, we’re not celebrating the hunter with this look so much as paying homage to those heroes of 70s and 80s film and TV.

My personal collection of Safari jackets, seen here, include beige numbers (short and long sleeved versions) and light blue.

I often team these jackets up with a light shirt – Hawaiian for that extra Tiki vibe – though plain works fine.  As these photos attest, I have even gone bare chested underneath said garment in warmer climes (not something I would recommend style wise).  Alternatively, try adding a cravat for that final touch of class.

The Safari jacket: whether it’s cocktails or action – this is the summer jacket for you.

Bram Stoker’s Halloween Horror Fest

Dracula (1992)

A difficult one, this.  Undeniably stunning to watch, this version of the classic tale from Director Francis Ford Coppola has many positives.  Unfortunately it also has some screamingly bad inconsistencies, too.

I won’t dwell too long on the plot, as the narrative manages to follow the source novel for the most part.  Suffice to say that Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) is despatched to Transylvania to arrange some London real estate for a certain Count Dracula (a brilliant Gary Oldman).  Dracula then relocates to Victorian England, where his cult of vampirism is destined to grow.

Despite following many of the key scenes from Stoker’s original book, and indeed managing to correctly include most of the characters for a change, this isn’t the definitive movie version it claims to be.  Rather, Coppola’s film is scuppered by introducing a ridiculous love story between Dracula and Mina (Winona Ryder) that wasn’t in the book.  So for every brilliantly shot tribute to the novel that Coppola makes, there’s a stake through the heart thanks to the silly romance aspect. drac

The performances vary from superb (Oldman) to annoying (Sadie Frost as Lucy).  Then there’s Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, who can’t decide how far to ram his tongue in his own cheek.

Poor old Keanu always comes under heavy criticism for his work here, and yes, his British accent is truly abominable.  In his defence, however, I would say that he looks exactly as I always imagined Jonathan Harker to look.  So give him a break.  For me, Winona Ryder is much worse – her acting and accent are both wrong, and she also looks totally out of place.

Thank heavens for some authenticity with appearances for much loved characters Dr Seward (Richard E Grant, great job); Arthur Holmwood (perfectly cast as Cary Elwes) and the vampire hunter who was always my favourite, Quincey Morris (Bill Campbell).

If I ignore the stupid desecration that is the Oldman/Ryder romance, then there’s plenty to enjoy.  The sets, costume designs and cinematography are simply beautiful.  There are some ingenious ideas where the laws of physics just do not apply – such as shadows roaming randomly – which create a supernatural world.  And there is enough respect for the novel in various other ways that Coppola’s Dracula is irresistible to watch.  Not to mention plenty of blood and dismemberment, and some true horror.

So despite holding my head in my hands and screaming “WHY?!” to the heavens, Dracula is still a must see.  But please folks, read the book.  Repressed Victorian sexuality and fears of the outsider may be present there, but “Dracula” is no love story.

8/10