When it comes to a legacy of strength, endurance and all-weather adventure, the men of the 210th Rescue Squadron of Anchorage Alaska, aka the Parajumpers, have to be the ideal subjects to inspire a free-spirited outerwear brand.
It was, in fact, a meeting with a serving member of this extreme rescue squad in a bar in the snow-capped Alaskan city that provided Italian designer Massimo Rossetti with the impetus to design Parajumpers’ now iconic Masterpiece jacket, which fuses the highly functional with the luxuriously sophisticated. This hardwearing, winter staple that’s quilted with the finest down and honed to withstand the extreme cold, continues to be moulded by the people that Rossetti meets in his wayward travels.
An avid explorer and sportsman, Rossetti has combined his love of the great outdoors with his fashion background at various Italian tailoring houses: ‘We build jackets that can last in your wardrobe for over 20 years,’ says the designer of his nylon, fur-trimmed coats.
Rossetti’s latest journey into the wilds of Iceland brought him to the extra(ordinary) Laxnes horse farm of Haukur Pórarinsson. Here, life is not something to be tamed; it is something to be conquered. As one of Iceland’s most experienced horse farmers, Pórarinsson is the last stop for the bravest of explorers in search of Iceland’s most extreme adventure trails.
Pórarinsson has followed in the footsteps of his grandfather’s pioneering spirit, after he purchased the icy Reykjavik farm in 1940. As the history books detail, the land’s first settlers originally sailed from Norway to Iceland in the 10th century with only their two strongest horses in stow. These animals originated from Southern China and worked their way across Siberia, Russia and Norway, acclimatising to the harsh Icelandic conditions en route. It’s an evolutionary game of survival of the fittest that has made Iceland’s breed one of the strongest in terms of speed and resistance to the elements.
On the farm the daily task of managing the property’s 200 horses is a physically demanding endurance sport of its own. Within the snowy fields Pórarinsson’s most faithful companion is his Icelandic Sheepdog and Border Collie cross Kalli, who helps him cover his 450 hectares of land.
‘There’s no bad weather, there are only bad clothes,’ Pórarinsson says of the fabled Icelandic saying. ‘You need good clothes; warm, reliable and most importantly windproof,’ he adds. ‘When it gets bitterly cold, good gear comes in handy.’ Indeed, out in the Icelandic wilderness, high-tech fabric innovation and practical design are a very real, life and death concern. This is, after all, a land where the spirit of adventure burns the strongest.