clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Libyan Despot Gaddafi Wants a Met Costume Institute Retrospective

New, 1 comment

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

The New York Times' Horatio Silva recently received a bizarre and possibly-real but also-maybe-not-real letter from one Zainab Bint Abu Talib, someone claiming to be the aide to Moussa Khalid Wahhab the Minister for Culture and Ethnic Affairs in Libya. The letter claims that a Libyan emissary has been in touch with the Costume Institute's head curator Harold Koda about setting up a 2013 retrospective of Muammar Gaddafi's wardrobe at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Yup. Here's an excerpt:

Our President (Colonel Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi) is deeply concerned for his legacy. He is not only a great economic and social reformer for the Libyan Republic, who over his four decades of inspired leadership has transformed Libya into one of the most prosperous and progressive nations in Africa and the Middle East, but also, our President, is a cultural innovator who over these decades has been at the fashion forefront for much of the African/Arab world.

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.

But wait, there's more! We like the part where they claim that Michael Jackson ripped off Gaddafi's style in the 1980s.

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. 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.
And then Libya invites Silva on a free trip to Tripoli to check out Gaddafi's wardrobe. Man, the NY Times always gets invited on the best press junkets!
· Muammar Mia! [T]