—Domenico Dolce of Dolce & Gabbana
It seems that military chic is in nowadays, but not that frightfully down-market camouflage type we’re used to seeing on TV. This new variety evokes Napoleon, Barry Lyndon and various other elegant high-ranking officers from eras past. This way, liberal-minded snappy dressers can show they’re thinking about the war, yes, but thinking about it with elegance. No one is interested in bringing to mind on the runway the unpalatable associations of urban combat gear, nor does any fashionable gentleman of the aughts wish to be mistaken for a member of the quickening horde of Iraq and Afghanistan-returned traumatic brain injury cases. In the face of those distasteful harbingers of PTSD doom, camouflage and kevlar, it is now left to the fashionisti to pick up the slack and conjure the image of a gracious military mystique of time past, when a soldier riddled with shrapnel was allowed to die honorably of mortal wounds to his internal organs.
Pondering these questions of fashion so deep and complex, I felt moved to attempt a portrait of one of the most elegant military men of all time, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Father of a nation, extraordinarily natty dresser, and possessor of a most elegant profile, Ataturk is a style icon to which more men ought to aspire. I’d like to see Mssrs. Dolce & Gabbana or the Banana Republican family bring out a fur hat even a fraction as magnificent as that trademark accessory of the first president of the Republic of Turkey. Like Napoleon, Ataturk logged a good many hours on the battlefield, but unlike Napoleon, he was known for more than one fashion look, did not have a complex or a puff pastry named for him, and did not mysteriously keep one hand inside his coat jacket at all times, a look echoed, perhaps, by Michael Jackson’s peculiar little glove in the 80’s.