Fauji Fashion Forward

Posted by lapata on December 01, 2006 · 2 mins read

The ever-chic Ataturk"It takes a confident man to wear a military jacket complete with rows of brass buttons. It's incredibly chic if it can be pulled off but it's difficult."

--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.


salman khattak | December 03, 2006

You've got a good thing going here - it would be interesting to see your views and analysis of military dictators and the fashionable uniforms they wore( wear) throughout history and modern times, across the globe, specially South Asia (hint hint ... :)

dawud | November 16, 2007

that hat that Ataturk work, the kalpak, comes from Turkmenistan, and he got the idea from the Russian (Bolshevik) generals who sponsored his first landing at Sivas with all the guns. Not a topic the Turks like to mention a lot these days, as Russia is still close with a few generals who REALLY don't like the US (see buyukgeneral Yasar pasha) - but not with a lot of conservative Turks.