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Muammar Gaddafi Wants Costume Institute Exhibit To Celebrate 'Superior Dress Sense'

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 04/22/2011 4:16 pm Updated: 06/22/2011 5:12 am

We've long thought Muammar Gaddafi's ensembles were worthy of a one-off clothing collection or perhaps a September Vogue spread, but it turns out the Libyan leader has big(ger) plans.

Zainab Bint Abu Talib, an aide to Mr. Moussa Khalid Wahabb, the new Minister for Cultural Affairs in Libya (or someone claiming to be him), contacted New York Times Fashion Editor Horacio Silva with an interesting request: help Gaddafi score a Costume Institute exhibit in his honor.

For you non-regular HuffPost Style readers out there, each year the Costume Institute hosts a major, fashion-based exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in N.Y.C. This year, it's "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty," celebrating the late designer's work. Last year, it was "American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity." And come 2013, Mr. Talib hopes it'll be Gaddafi's turn.

An excerpt from an email sent to Silva:

A contact from our UN staff has been in dialogue with Mr. Harold Koda's people at the Costume Institute at your Metropolitan Museum in New York. There is intense interest in our proposal for a retrospective in 2013 of Colonel Gaddafi's four decades of superior dress sense. In the last month the compound next to the presidential palace was badly damaged in a bombing raid and we are very concerned should the same happen to the palace the result might be the destruction of over 3400 items of breathtaking sartorial magnificence: Decades of Military uniforms and leisure wear mostly hand made from the finest fabrics on earth that show not only President Col. Gaddafi's strong commitment to leadership qualities but his relaxed and informal side as a devoted family man who loves to entertain.

But Gaddafi's "superior dress sense" hasn't been confined to Libya's borders. Oh, no:

Indeed many of his clothes have featured in global magazines from the hundreds of state visits and functions he has hosted over the years for world leaders. All of whom are in agreement, ahumdullillah, that our President is one of the very best dressed men of the last half century. It is not only African and Arab leaders who have been influenced by his style and substance but many western rock stars and celebrities have also been won over by the Gaddafi look: most notably Michael Jackson in the 1980's copied the signature motif military style of our leader to great chart success on his own terms.

Michael Jackson...really? Talib goes on to offer Silva the opportunity to visit Tripoli and go through Gaddafi's closet -- but Silva can't agree due to the Times's editorial policy. Um, we're not really doing anything later, Talib, if you want to get in touch.

Read the rest at the New York Times.

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