For the English socialite worried about getting shot, oversize paramilitary gear simply won't do. Fortunately, London's superrich can now maintain their security without sacrificing style. On July 14, Miguel Caballero, the world's only producer of "designer bulletproof fashion," started selling his high-security garments at posh London department store Harrods. His new collection includes blazers, raincoats and suede jackets, some replete with a comforting stab-proof lining. Customers get to select from three levels of ballistic protection. For instance, a polo shirt that can withstand a slug from a 9-mm revolver costs roughly $7,500; a version for about $9,800 protects wearers from automatic weapons, including mini-Uzis.
The Colombian designer began producing high-security fashion 16 years ago while studying at Bogotá's Los Andes University, where his classmates--many of whom were the children of politicians--wore protective vests that were heavy and nondiscreet. Fast-forward to his latest leather jacket, which weighs a trim 2.6 lb. (1.2 kg) and doesn't scream bulletproof.
Caballero, who has expanded into 16 countries, says he does not operate "exclusively in dangerous places" but admits that "they don't need us in Switzerland." As crime rises in many cities, so do his profits: his company sold $9 million in 2007 and matched that figure in just the first seven months of this year. The prestige of wearing Caballero-secured clothing has grown too, drawing high-profile clients like King Abdullah of Jordan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and actor Stephen Segal. But be warned: in this élite circle of the secure and stylish, there is a hidden cost. In the unfortunate event of stains--blood or otherwise--the garments are dry-clean only.