Mel Ziegler still recalls the day in the early 1980s when he and his wife, Patricia, opened the most unusual clothing store Beverly Hills, Calif., had ever seen.

With its jungle expedition theme, the store featured live tropical foliage, a Quonset hut to house the shoe department and an actual stream gurgling down the center of the sales floor. Life-size model giraffes and elephants stood amid old leather suitcases and wooden-crate racks piled with khaki “safari” clothing—Ghurka shorts, pith helmets and chamois shirts with deep cargo pockets.