Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pith helmets and vests

So, E and I went to the midnight screening of Indiana Jones last night (awesome, by the way) (and yes, I am a little on the sleepy side) and we are so in love with Karen Allen. Of course, we always liked her best of all the Indy girls, but to see her now tromping around the jungle in this incredible outfit and look so fabulous makes us so happy. (who in the world can wear high-waisted front pleated pants and look that good? Not many people)(And--she is an incredible hand-made knitwear designer)
As we drove home last night we were in awe of this pre-GAP'd Banana Republic look Karen was sporting. Does anyone else remember BR before they were bought by GAP? They sold safari-inspired clothes in crazy themed stores and had an incredible hand-drawn (J. Peterman-like) catalogs. It was really cool. I remember distinctly the store at Union Station in St Louis. The front of the store looked like a hut with a jeep that had crashed through the window and a giraffe head sticking out of the ceiling. Inside there were palms, animals and fog machines. It was awesome. (If only we had been smart enough to take pictures--I can't find any!) Don't get me wrong--I like BR, and find many cute things there. I just get kind of sad thinking of the amazing stores that once were that have been homogenized into everyday stores.

Abercrombie and Fitch is another example. Before they had frolicking boys & girls in their ads they were a true sporting outfitters store. A&F was founded in 1892 and for years was THE place to go for sporting equipment. (they say Hemingway bought the gun he used to shoot himself at A&F) But then Limited bought it in the 80's and now it is what it is. There is a movie I've seen from the 50's (now I can't remember what it was-arrgh) and part of it was set in a A&F store and it was a wonderland - I would have loved to see it in it's heyday.

I understand that today there isn't so much of a market for these kinds of stores, but I think we as shoppers miss this kind of eccentricity in our shopping--which is why we love Anthropologie so much. The environment is what makes their stores--now wouldn't it be sad if Limited bought it and streamlined it?

Anyway, I guess what this boils down to is: Karen Allen is a bad ass: I'm rethinking my entire wardrobe to reflect a more safari angle: and I wish that were more environmentally eccentric brands out there--because that jeep through the window at BR was so cool. Oh, and if anyone can find pictures of the original BR store, I would love to see them!


Sucker For Marketing said...

I DO remember those BR stores, and had forgotten all about them. I know i had some bad-ass shorts with all kinds of pockets from there back in the day.
I also lived their t-shirts. They had that hand-drawn look too, remember those?

I miss those places like you.

PINTUCKS said...

Also an early BR lover--the shop was terrific, soooo sad it went main stream and lost it's indentity.
Incidently, those early BR clothes do crop at yard sales and such, still great as ever, collectable really--keep your eyes peeled.