The five best surfer jaunts into High Fashion
Words by Ali Klinkenberg Surfing makes you beautiful, and interesting. If you fail to recognise these intrinsic aspects of our beloved pursuit, then you’re clearly missing the point. One gaggle that hasn’t failed to scope this is the fabulously pointless world of high fashion. It seems that whenever Lagerfeld and the gang run out of […]
Words by Ali Klinkenberg
Surfing makes you beautiful, and interesting. If you fail to recognise these intrinsic aspects of our beloved pursuit, then you’re clearly missing the point. One gaggle that hasn’t failed to scope this is the fabulously pointless world of high fashion. It seems that whenever Lagerfeld and the gang run out of steam with the endless pursuit of angular pasty boys, they return to the good old value of a golden tan and a muscular torso: Surfing. As much as the macho undertone (core?) of the surf world denies it, every time Paris, or Milan, lights up the cell phones of a surfer they blush, and croon, and say, “Oh, I’d love to.” Vanity after all, is the healthiest thing in life.
Kelly and Versace. Fashion’s about dreaming, and making other people dream. Or so Donatella Versace says. There’s few people in the history of anything that have induced as many dreams as Robert Kelly Slater. It’s fitting therefore that Versace Sport chose a young KS as the face of their 1997 campaign. Physical beauty fades, especially with excess time spent in sun, but the ’97 Versace ad’s one hell of an ode to the peak of Kelly’s aesthetics.
Nat Young (1.0) and Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren is about life and how people live, and how they want to live, and how they dream they’ll live! A mere pretty face won’t do. Ralph needs character, life experience, and Nat Young happens to be the proud owner of one of the most character-filled faces in surfing. Every line tells a story, every sun spot reflects an adventure. He’s pioneered a culture, crashed a plane, won a world title, almost died snowboarding, been arrested, and, he looks like a man who’d be a pleasure to share a cognac with in front of an open fire (preferably in a Ralph Lauren polo neck). Bravo Nat.
Danny Fuller and Chanel. The latest of the pro surfer clique to saunter into high fashion, Danny pulled off Chanel Sport to a tee with all kinds of brooding, hair flicking barrel sexy. Danny perfectly fits Lagerfeld’s philosophy of good models not being perfect. “What one needs is a face that people can identify in a second,” says the be-sun-speckled German fash god, and Danny’s one of the most striking faces in surf. And, thanks to Chanel accounts his “kids will now be going to private school.” A win for fashion, surfing, and the greater good.
Buzzy Kerbox and Ralph Lauren. Buzzy Kerbox’s one of the OG strap crew members who pioneered tow surfing in Maui in the 90’s. And, he featured heavily in Ralph Lauren’s campaigns during the period; presumably spending his modelling packet on footstraps and fuel for his zodiac, which he then used to tow pals Laird, Dave and Darrick into giant peaks at the now famous, but at the time unknown, Peahi. Besides having one of the most SEO friendly names in surfing (ah, the wrong decade!) Buzzy was the epitome of the 90’s all-American boy. (Disclaimer: Why they dressed him in cricket pads is at this stage unexplained)
Laird and Davidoff. It seems fitting that the king of the mainstream crossover, Emperor Laird Hamilton, is the one to round out this gaggle of surf Adonises. Davidoff’s not exactly hi-fash, in fact it originally started life as a cigarette brand (which they still retail but make no connection with to the other ‘Luxury’ items in the range whatsoever) and Laird’s just one of a list of sherpas over the years who’ve been charged with dragging the brand out of the lingering stench of cigarette smoke. However, Laird’s overwhelming torso makes the list, although how they avoided the cover line ‘Brut Strength’ is completely beyond me.
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