If Saddam is executed this weekend, he will be remembered primarily as an evil Dictator who slaughtered his own countrymen, engaged in several futile wars, and brought ruin upon the nation he ruled. What will almost certainly receive less attention is the fact that he was a gorgeous hunk of Maleness, whose inimitable style cast a long shadow over men's fashion in the later 20th and early 21st Century.
Here is my tribute in pictures, then, to the man, his style, and his manly body.
Here is a shot of young Saddam from his pre-Tyrant days. This is the "spy in the tropics" look, familiar from early James Bond movies. One can imagine the young Saddam sent abroad like this on missions for the Baath Party, strangling regime dissidents beneath an inviting Caribbean moon.
Saddam as Country gentleman out for an afternoon's hunt. From this angle, its impossible to tell what exactly he is hunting. It might be Shia tribesmen.
From his years as Dictator, during which Saddam put away the flashy clothes of youth and came to prefer dark suits and conservative ties. The message here is one of competence and gravitas: "These people won't massacre themselves."
Perhaps Saddam's most serious mis-step. The green collar makes him look a bit like a mustachioed Kermit The Frog. Not a fashion disaster on the level of Bjork's swan dress, but a faux pas just the same. Who knows? Maybe it slayed 'em up in Kurdistan. Ba Hah! Anyway...
Saddam posed a la Marky Mark for his prison video, "Iraqi Rap". If a ruler is twelve inches, then clearly this man was born to be King.
However, IMHO Saddam never achieved the status of fashion God until he was captured by U.S. forces and put on trial. Here, his back against the wall, our man chose to discard his necktie as a symbol(see note) of Western rule for a more nationalist look. "I am an Iraqi!" is the message: "I killed 'em all for the good of the nation!"
Note: The neck-tie or, as it was once called, the Ascot, was invented by English Lord Thomas Dicky III in the 17th century, who also invented the "dicky", or false shirt-front, designed to be worn with the ascot.
This tie/shirt combination was made famous in Charles Dickens Hard Times, when Major Emery is rousted from the bath-house and, as the Paris Police wait impatiently for him to dress, shouts out the immortal words: "I've got my ascot in my dicky!"