Last updated: February 16. 2013 11:25PM - 339 Views

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When you read a press release that says a guy named Genghis Cohen has developed a Louis Vuitton-handled handgun at a luxury Las Vegas shooting range, you look for the punchline, right?

I did.

If the odd connotation of a heavily armed guy named Genghis Cohen (yep, his real name) doesn't inspire the "say whaaaat?" face, then the designer-label handgun certainly does.

It sounds ludicrous, and yet it's true.

Cohen told the New York Times: "We have a real demand to cater to gun enthusiasts who also have a desire to look stylish, hence our foray into Louis Vuitton gun accessories."

The company also has Louis Vuitton gun holsters and gun bags, but other reports suggest Louis Vuitton is not happy with the association.

Calls seeking information at the gun range were not returned.

But there's no denying there's a luxe but rugged pioneering spirit experiment going on. It is inherently contradictory, and yet no one seems ashamed.

The trend is more prominent among glampers (i.e. glam campers). It started in jest, I think, with some high-end designers using camping attire to inspire their runway collections. Hiking shoes were rendered as stilettos, sweatshirts in cashmere and lumberjack vests were lined in plush fur with slim waists.

All things utilitarian were revamped with opulent details. It was with a wink and a smile that Isaac Mizrahi incorporated camping into his showing of ball gowns for fall 2010: "Think Geoffrey L.L. Bean," said his show notes. "Or even Buffalo Bill Blass." The show was full of quirky, youthful twists on glamour.

Glamping is what real campers would probably call an annoying invasion of spoiled yuppies.

But that's beside the point; glamping is here to stay. Once a fringe getaway community mostly reserved for honeymooner types who wanted to get away from it all and were considered justified in self-indulgent bliss, it's now acceptable for anyone to have their cake and eat it with a platinum fork, too.

I used to joke that I'd camp more if they had room service. Apparently, I wasn't the only one whining about the lack of amenities in the great outdoors.

Nature's great, but it's just so nature-y.

The luxury camping business has cropped up to smooth out the edges of "roughing it." Campsites resemble resorts with spacious tents, deluxe beds and sometimes maid service. There are camp fires you don't have to make, gourmet dinners you don't have to cook and dishes you don't have to wash. There are luxurious private outdoor rain showers, water heaters and sometimes air conditioning.

As a small sacrifice, there's usually no cell-phone reception or televisions. But just in case, zazzle.com has a host of wilderness-themed iPhone cases available in the $45 range.

It wouldn't be glamping without the proper accoutrements.

William Henry has a Swarovski gemstone pocketknife to keep even the smallest task glamorous. And wouldn't it be nice to keep your high-end beauty products dry with Louis Vuitton's Sirocco water-repellent extra-large backpack ($3,100) at louisvuitton.com? And if shiny burgundy leather hiking book by Brunello Cucinelli with woodsy dark gray knit laces ($1,660) at Neiman Marcus isn't your style for hitting the trail, you could opt for a waterproof customized Timberland hiking shoe available in more than a dozen colors and more than 10 custom options.

And for die-hard glampers who want to spare no expense (or ridicule), Chanel makes an inflatable raft (prices available on request) for lazy river trips.

Never mind that Yahoo news deemed the Chanel raft one of its "18 absurd and frivolous designer items" and gave it the caption, "Help! I just bought this designer raft and now I'm drowning in debt!"


Sip your artisanal roasted coffee from your Kate Spade travel cup by the roaring synthetic fire and enjoy nature with all the comforts of home.

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