Tag Archives: Ted Lapidus

Who invented the safari suit?

21 Jan

There’s something about a gentleman in a safari suit that just makes you want to add the word “esquire” to his name.

Distinguished, timeless, classic. The safari suit is none of these things.  And yet its popularity has endured, long after hypercolour T-shirts have gone their way.

What I can’t figure out, though, is exactly what ensures its continued usage from one generation to the next.

Perhaps it’s the tribes of young men who rate the suits the perfect attire for professional sporting matches and pub crawls. Perhaps it’s the way they so lovingly cup the massive beer guts over which they often strain.

Either way it doesn’t matter – fashion crime is fashion crime. And I wanted to know who is responsible.

Turns out it was a designer from the usually stylish bastion we call France.

His name was Ted Lapidus, aka the ‘poet of French couture’, and his fans included The Beatles and Brigitte Bardot. He once worked for Dior and even designed uniforms for the Israeli women’s army. But his most famous legacy is the often sandy coloured two-piece, which swept the fashion world in the 1960s and 1970s and was a favourite of luminaries such as former South Australian premier Don Dustan (pictured).

Despite such a dubious legacy, Ted Lapidus Paris continues today, offering everything from clothing and accessories to perfume.

But the designer himself died in December 2008 and was buried inParis’s Pere-Lachaise cemetery, which is also the final resting place of luminaries such as Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison.