So Who Was Gadaffi’s Fashion Stylist?

*This post is inspired by a column published last week titled “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in Arabian Business Magazine.

I do not know much about Middle East politics (i.e. I have no idea who are the head and prime ministers of each country) but I do remember recognizing the former Libyan leader early on. With his flamboyant clothes and messy curls, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was not to be missed on news photos.

Reading the column, I learned that Vanity Fair in 2009 published a gallery  of Gaddafi’s famous outfits, calling him the most “unabashed dresser on the world stage.”

I share the photos and caption below:

This is the young Gaddafi in the elegantly tailored military tunic. When the English writer (and rake) Jeffrey Bernard asked the painter Francis Bacon who in the world he would most like to bed, he replied, “I’d like to f*ck the pants off Colonel Qaddafi.” Maybe this picture of the colonel in his prime explains.

He kept an army of femme fatale. We learned about his favorite blonde nurse. We read about his refusal to walk more than 35 steps. But who coached him on dressing? When did his penchant for fine art of accesorizing with map of Africa and photos of dead people? Who was the fashion stylist behind his look?

The ribbons are interesting because for years after the coup in which he took power Qaddafi was only ever seen with a few rows of decoration. Today, there are more than 16 indicating a score or more of awards. Who has conferred these medals to Qaddafi, and what for?

This is Qaddafi’s  luncheonwear for a meeting with Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres at Cairo in April 2000. That, or his luggage got lost en route and he whipped up an outfit from his hotel room’s upholstery.

Gaddafi arrives at Rome’s without the camel that he transported to Paris on an official visit. For the occasion he opted for the traditional uniform of a banana-republic dictator, with shades and epaulets that would have embarrassed Napoleon. Stuck, or pinned, to his right breast was a framed photograph of Libyan national hero Omar al-Mukhtar, who was executed by Italian colonial authorities in the 1930s.

Bringing color to the international summit — Qaddafi, in a lineup of G8 leaders at a summit this year in L’Aquila, Italy, channels Saturday Night Fever in a white suit under the traditional Arabic bisht, accessorized with a small billboard of medals and, on his right breast, a brooch of Africa, just in case anyone forgot that Muammar is the president of the African Union.


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