- The Washington Times - Friday, August 10, 2007

From collective farmer to Communist apparatchik to general secretary to Louis Vuitton huckster: We’re tempted to say Mikhail Gorbachev has worn many hats, but that might inspire the former Soviet honcho to model fedoras for Gucci. Crack intelligence analysts that we are, we’re left pondering if the Free World failed to detect a similar susceptibility to high fashion in any other dictators.

Kim Jong-il/Prada — Ever notice the North Korean tyrant’s eyeglasses? The boxy ones with rims as wide as Eurasia? Mr. Kim should take a cue from rock star Bono and get himself a pair of Pradas.

Fidel Castro/Paul Mitchell — The ailing Cuban dictator’s beard is, in its own right, as famous as its owner. “Castro’s Beard” was actually the title of a 2001 stage play. With that kind of notoriety, professional color and styling products are a must.

Robert Mugabe/Jacob Arabo — The corrupt Zimbabwean despot, in addition to starving his people, has begun trading precious metals for much-needed oil. Mr. Mugabe, meet the jeweler to the stars. Added bonus: Mr. Arabo is facing money-laundering charges.

Bashar al-Assad/Hermes — Standing at 6 feet 3 inches and with a preference for double-Windsor knots the size of his head, the Syrian strongman would make a striking model for top-shelf neckties.

Moammar Gadhafi /Burberry — Already a clotheshorse, what with his color-coordinated sashes, robes and headwear, the Libya dictator is a natural fit for the world’s most recognizable desert-hued plaid pattern.

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