Urban Jungle: Fashion Goes on Safari

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Some items never seem to go out of style - fashion that goes on safari is updated for the urban jungle. This year the ''Out of Africa'' look is still roaring with ethnic designs and a neutral color palette that still stalks the fashion runways. Indiana Jones himself would approve.

''Animal prints and safari prints never go out of fashion,'' says Nicole Fischelis, vice president and fashion director of Macy's. ''Women have a love affair with animal prints whatever the season. These prints are all about style. They have transcended being a trend piece to being a classic in a woman's closet.''

Major designers have cleared a pathway for the safari trend. The African-inspired prints were a major hit in collections from Donna Karan, Derek Lam, Oscar de la Renta, Jean Paul Gaultier, Nicole Miller and Diane von Furstenberg.

The khaki classics were updated for spring at DKNY, Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler, Badgley Mischka, Tommy Hilfiger, Hermes and Dolce & Gabbana. Let's see how many ways you can update a classic khaki suit or shirtdress. It turns out there are dozens of new looks that keep the hunt for fashion on safari fresh and new.

And there are always new ways to make the safari basics look different.

''Women can update the look with great accessories in organic or metallic fabrics or textured leathers,'' says Fischelis. ''In shoes, a pair of brown leather or gold strappy high heels or flat gladiators are great. Statement jewelry pieces like large gold bangles, hammered gold or stacked bangles are key pieces to update the look.''

Fischelis also cites longer necklaces in wood or organic beads as accessories fit for the urban jungle. A wide solid or woven leather belt that mixes textures such as canvas and leather are other great additions to the safari-inspired wardrobe this spring.

Here are a few more ways to go on a fashion safari this season:

  • Add a great safari-inspired jacket complete with epaulets and a belted waist.

  • Stack a few raffia bangles on your arms.

  • Strap on a canvas and leather handbag with plenty of pockets and buckles.

  • Step up to platform sandals in neutral tans or cork with crisscross straps.

  • Fill your wardrobe with desert neutrals and accessories like tortoise shell earrings, raffia belts, canvas wedges and textured animal print cuff bracelets.

  • Metallic and snakeskin print belts and handbags are another way to update khaki neutral jackets, skirts or shorts.

  • The ultimate one-piece that says it all? A neutral khaki trench coat that can be dressed up or down, and worn over all your spring basics with a little animal print scarf, bracelet or skirt for even more jungle fever.
Sharon Mosley is a former fashion editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and executive director of the Fashion Editors and Reporters Association.
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