Aloha Mr. Selleck

by Frog

For years a photograph of Magnum P.I. hung over my sister's bed (P.I. stands for Private Investigator, if you ever wondered), as if it were the portrait of some special saint. 

Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned enough to show off his hairy chest (ah, the glorious' 80s), macho mustache and smile that would have softened even Lex Luthor, Tom Selleck (the Magnum PI actor) in that photograph was just over forty years and was the sexiest man alive.

What made that photo special, however, was the autograph with a dedication to my sister by the Californian actor (now, I don't think I need to explain why he did it, but I assure you it's true.)

One of the most followed shows in the world was set in Hawaii. The colored shirt worn by Tom Selleck and the flaming red Ferrari which belonged to the invisible villa owner where Magnum lived, became very popular. 

Marcus Allen, superstar running back of the then LA raiders in the 1980’s, wanted a black Ferrari at all costs because "since Magnum PI now everyone has a red one".

Since the mustache and hairy chest were impossible to achieve for any teenager of that period (like the Ferrari), so the effort of almost everyone at that time was instead concentrated on the shirt (which from a purely tailoring point of view is one of the simplest garments to be replicated).

Throughout the '80s these shirts could be seen everywhere. To sanction their definitive success in Italy the meteor group "Gruppo Italiano", which in 1983 came out with the video "Tropicana" (post apocalyptic text among other things) where all the guys in the band wear their own aloha shirts.

Since Vintageria does not sell (for now) Ferrari, let's focus on these colorful shirts, whose name was recorded in the 1930s by a Chinese merchant, Ellery Chun, based in Waikiki, the most famous district of the capital Honolulu.

The merchant, however, did not invent anything. He was simply the first who understood the business and began to replicate shirts on an industrial level.

It seems that the original idea had come a few years earlier to Kōichirō Miyamoto, a Japanese also from Honolulu, owner of the shop "Musa-Shiya the Shirtmaker", who found a large quantity of cloth with colorful Japanese prints on his hands, bought for few dollars. Probably, sitting on those huge bales of fabric, Kōichirō imagined a simple to sew, super comfortable shirt that replicated the laid back vibe of the islands and was perfect for American tourists starting to see Hawaii as the easiest exotic destination to go to.

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, the success of these flamboyant shirts exploded almost everywhere, reaching today, with incredible moments of visibility.

All fueled by the myth of Hawaii, which has never faded over the years: a destination for surf purists, the stage for TV series such as Hawaii Five-0 (broadcast throughout the 1970s and rebooted in the last decade) and Magnum P.I.

Also from the musical point of view these islands gave something to the world, in the 50s, thanks to the talent of the pianist Denny Martin, who was in Hawaii as a member of an orchestra, the "exotica" was born, a style of music which combines lounge and jazz, with the addition of a whole series of sounds (tropical birds singing, the croaking of frogs), basically the natural background of the first live recordings and which then became the real trademark of Exotica.

This was one of those days I wish I'd listened to my mother and studied to be an orthodontist. Looking into someone's mouth has gotta be better than staring death in the face.
Magnum P.I.

But now back to the shirts, apart from the more or less appropriate patterns, the real difference in an aloha shirt is the fabric and the care of the few but essential details, such as the seams and buttons.

It goes without saying that Vintageria has decided to offer only a careful selection of models, focusing on quality.

Wear an "aloha shirt", possibly unbuttoned, if you can,grow a mustache, close your eyes and play a random piece of Denny Martin in your headphones, and tell me if it doesn't seem to be Magnum P.I. while strolling on Waikiki Beach.

The ultimate solution to looking like Tom Selleck is to buy a red Ferrari, but as mentioned before, Vintageria has not yet organized to do so.