August 22, 1997
A news item a few days ago reported that
European fashion designer Hugo Boss has admitted
that they "very likely" made uniforms for the Nazis
in World War II.
During the Gulf War, it was reported that Saddam
Hussein's troops wore uniforms designed by Pierre
I'm starting to see a trend here. There is
obviously an underground fashion economy that keeps
despots and megalomaniacs looking their best.
The question is, if you are an insane head of
state, how do you do your fashion shopping? It
won't be mail order. I doubt Pol Pot anxiously
waited by the mailbox each month for his new
"Fredericks of Cambodia" catalogue.
There must be a place where these dictators can
get together with top designers and supermodels to
make sure they're not embarrassed by wearing last
year's uniform in public.
We now whisk you to the Martin Bormann Fashion
Institute, deep in the jungles of Paraguay:
Welcome tyrants and international war criminals
to a preview of our Fall collection.
Now first we have Rolf coming down the runway.
He's dressed in basic black for that special night
of rounding up enemies of the state. Note the
matching black leather accessories and sporty billy
Next we have Miguel. Doesn't he look fresh from
the jungle? Whether your dictatorship is on the
Left or on the Right, I have only one thing to say
to you - Camo, camo, camo.
The tropical look is back. Nothing says banana
republic like Banana Republic. And if you're
President for Life or just a government in exile,
white linen is a must. Our new synthetic blend
means it travels from the south of France to
Central America and back again without a wrinkle.
For making deposits to Swiss accounts, the
favourite is still a silk suit and matching
oversize duffel bag.
It doesn't matter if you're a James Bond villain
or an aging Chinese Party Boss, Nehru jackets still
show you mean business when crushing democracy at
home or abroad.
And for putting down political dissent at public
rallies, this easy-care jumpsuit and matching
helmet will not let you down.
For those palace coups that go wrong, this
reversible suit always puts you on the winning
side. It just screams: "I was with you all the
On this uniform you'll see something we learned
from the Iraqi army in the Gulf War. Notice the
attention to detail on the back, so you'll look
good, even in retreat.
Nothing inspires confidence more than our next
item. If you're not only Head of State, but also
Supreme Commander of the Army - and who isn't? -
have a look at our ready to wear Field Marshal's
uniform. It looks good on a balcony or when
making announcements on TV. It is accessorized
with a brave chest full of medals from the Idi Amin
For greeting delegations investigating your
country for human rights violations, this simple
charcoal gray suit makes you look suitably
concerned and cooperative for Western TV
interviews. When Barbara Walters comes a-knockin',
don't get caught looking like a developing country
nutbar, or you can kiss your humanitarian aid
Thanks for coming, and don't forget, crimes
against humanity are one thing, but fashion crimes
are quite another.