Saddam’s Fashion Savvy

While “torturer” and “genocidal dictator” are not terms that cause our hearts to glow with unblinking admiration, one has to admit that Saddam Hussein is what Max Beerbohm might have deemed “quite the dandy”. Say what you will about him, the man has fashion sense, causing the entire Muslim fashion world to tune in to his trial with keen interest. “What will Saddam wear today?” they ask. And what he wears is usually as expressive of his current legal tact as it his inherent dapperness.

And finally, the Western World takes notice, via Slate, who examine the political ramnifications of Saddam’s many fashion choices:

The suit may make the man, but can it do anything for a fallen dictator? Not enough for Saddam Hussein, apparently. When Saddam first returned to the public eye for his trial in October, he sported a series of bespoke Turkish-wool suits that the fledgling Iraqi republic had purchased from his former tailor. But on Monday, he scrapped the suits in favor of a blue caftan (or dishdasha). It’s an unusual choice for a suave secularist like Saddam, but it could be a shrewd fashion move.

Last December Robin Givhan of the Washington Post opined that Saddam’s suits were a bid for global approval. By adhering to the dress code of international politics, Givhan argued, Saddam sent the message that he was still a world leader and not a local warlord. But the new caftan suggests that Saddam has other ideas in mind. It’s hard to think of a better way for Saddam to signal solidarity with anti-Western Islamists than by standing trial in the traditional robe of the Arab nomad.

Link: Sartorial Tips from Saddam at Slate.