The Classicist: Polistas - For Polo Players, By Polo Players
Enthusiasm for the noble sport of polo and the luxurious lifestyle it entails has never been more in evidence. It seems the economic downturn has done little to dampen it, perhaps because polo's roots are so steeped in class and tradition. Over the past several months we saw Veuve Clicquot stage the first polo match in New York City in over 70 years; St. Regis inaugurate a major new International Polo Cup; the Snow Polo championships take place in Aspen and St. Moritz; and the first Desert Palm Nations Polo Cup in Dubai. Polo player Johnny Lynn (above) saw it all coming. In 2001 he founded Polistas, the first true polo lifestyle brand, made for polo players by polo players, and now he's opening up branches all over the world.
Lynn, a Canadian-born former financier who plays polo internationally and teaches as well, conceived of Polistas to outfit polo teams with high quality clothing and accessories both for playing in and for après polo. An immediate success, polo and equestrian enthusiasts of all stripes soon gravitated to his flagship store in London's famed Burlington Arcade. The name Polistas is Argentine slang for "polo players" and it is the classic Argentinian polo lifestyle - rugged, laid-back and timeless - that comes through in Polistas' products and attitude. For the past six years Polistas has had a major presence at Harrods and other high-end boutiques worldwide, and has been selected as the official supplier to several major tournaments, including the Veuve Clicquot British Open Gold Cup, The Hildon Queen's Cup, and the Prince of Wales Trophy in the UK.
Gallery: Polistas Polo Style
HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales himself is a Polistas enthusiast (see the gallery), and wore Polistas shirts in matches; fittingly polo is known as the "Sport of Kings." His sons Princes Harry and William are also keen on the brand. In other royal connections, the Officers of Her Majesty the Queen's Life Guards, part of the Royal Household Cavalry, are also customers of Polistas, which outfits the Royal Jordanian Polo Team, the Sultan of Brunei, and members of the Kuwaiti Royal Family as well. Even on customized apparel the Polistas three-polo-player logo features prominently; created from an actual photo of three friends playing in a hard fought polo battle, the Logo "encapsulates the spirit of comradeship and team play" that characterize polo.
"Polo is the original 'extreme sport'", Lynn says. "It's been played for centuries as a training exercise for cavalries from Mongolia to Persia and India and more recently in the frontiers of North and South America, Colonial Africa and Australasia." Not only officers and royalty can play, however. "In reality it is played by modern day adrenalin seekers from a variety of interesting backgrounds," he notes. "You have to be tough, brave and relatively well off to play the modern game but the social stigmas are being diluted by a cool new breed of sports adventurers." And of course, no matter what your background, it's as important to look good off the field as on.