Before Banana Republic Was Mainstream Fashion, It Was A Weirdly Wonderful Safari Brand

by MR Magazine Staff

Mel Ziegler still recalls the day in the early 1980s when he and his wife, Patricia, opened the most unusual clothing store Beverly Hills had ever seen.
With its jungle expedition theme, the store featured live tropical foliage, a Quonset hut to house the shoe department and an actual stream gurgling down the center of the sales floor. Life-size model giraffes and elephants stood amid old leather suitcases and wooden crate racks piled with khaki “safari” clothing—Ghurka shorts, pith helmets and chamois shirts with deep cargo pockets. To complete the effect, Ziegler balanced a World War II Army Jeep atop boulders in the front window. Above the sales floor, he suspended a salvaged bush plane on wires from the ceiling painted to resemble a blue Zimbabwean sky. “We had to close the whole street just to bring the bush plane in,” Ziegler recalls. “But that was part of the fun of it. We were kind of anarchistic. If we could find a rule to break, we broke it.” And what was the name of this exotic, equatorial clothing outpost, this store that broke all the rules? Read more at Adweek.