Saturday, November 29, 2008

Archival Gent: Bob Lee





I could be wrong but I think Bob Lee, Safari outfitter and shoulder bag tycooon, may have passed away. Uncertainty about Mr. Lee's age seems appropriate since he never aged in a thirty year span of appearances in his namesake catalog, Bob Lee's Hunting World.

In every Hunting World catalog I own, Mr. Lee is shown dressed in beautifully tailored outdoor clothing (w/seasonal variations), riding a camel on a conservation expedition in the the Chinese Pamirs or shooting clay birds with the Duke of Valderano.

In some ways, HW seems to be a lost brand now that Bob is no longer around to curate and control the company's product offerings.

From an early, HW catalog: "Mr Lee designs for function first, believing the aesthetics will follow. He tests his gear personally and also equips others who are going into the field, asking for their feedback. After all, if a bag can withstand rugged conditions in the field, it can easily cope with the rigors of Tokyo, New York or Paris."

Last time I checked the Hunting World website, I was surprised by all the tacky shoulder bag offerings in styles and patterns with names like medallic tweed, mystical shade and encompass jacquard. Many of the core shoulder bags--the battue carry-all and Safari Today line--have disappeared from view.

6 comments:

Diane Brandon said...

Bob Lee is a friend of mine. He is indeed alive and very well--just received his annual Christmas card.

Lesli Larson said...

So glad to hear that Bob Lee is still around. I'm a huge fan of his original product offerings and conservation work. Hunting World is just not the same brand without his guiding vision.

Anonymous said...

I spoke with Bob Lee this past Saturday evening. He looks extremely well and was impeccably attired (as usual). He sold Hunting World a few years ago and I too miss his guiding vision. New owners unfortunately closed the New York City location. Too bad... shopping there was always a highlight of my trips to the "Big Apple". God Bless Bob Lee and AB.

joyous said...

anonymous, please say hello to Bob from his cousin Andy's daughter Joy. I have 2 teenagers who are very interested in how Bob could have been related to their Poppy. I made sure to take them to the store on 53rd before it closed. Soho store not the same. Please tell Bob I miss his mother. She was quite something. If he is interested I am listed on Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Man, really want to know how can you be that smart, lol...great read, thanks.

DMG said...

Bob Lee is at dinner at Vivoli's in Reno as I write this. Just back from Montana in the Gulfstream. With Robert L. Wilson (the foremost authority in the world), finishing up a book describing his collection of Colt firearms. Anyway, Bob Lee is very much alive.