We've already reported on how hiking will take over the fashion world, and it looks like the trend shows no signs of cooling off: Lots of high-end fashion houses are introducing hiking shorts for the summer. Prada leads the pack, and they plan to sell their "hiking shorts" for a mere $465.
Let me say that again: hiking shorts for $465.
Before you get your busted ol' khakis in a twist, let's give the designers the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure they've muscled in a lion's share of practical features for that price. Let's take a look:
They are manufactured in Italy, of a special cotton canvas hand-dyed to achieve a very particular shade of khaki. The buttons are pearl or horn. And the perfectly frayed hem is not so easily achieved--the fabric is ripped by hand and washed repeatedly at extreme temperatures.
Did you see anything about breathability in there? Because I didn't.
Granted, the baggy, convertible numbers we're used to could use a little injection of style. But I'm inclined to think the only way you'd ever see these in the backcountry is if you found them clinging to the bones of a male model who lost his way during a particularly ambitious and ill-conceived photoshoot. (It happens: I know a guy who works for Tommy Hilfiger and freaked out when he learned he'd have to manage models on a shoot in the Yukon wilderness.)
Me, I'm not worried about dropping a few extra dollars on my shorts for fashion's sake. They'll go great with my $1600 solid-gold backpack.