The interested party would not be a bloodthirsty despot, we would laugh at it: Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, is confirmed as a fashion victim. According to the English site The New Voice of Ukraine (NV), the self-proclaimed “Putin’s best foot soldier” would have recently sported a camouflage print jacket signed Louis Vuitton. Information from the opposing camp: “According to the adviser to the Minister of the Interior of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, Louis Vuitton jackets of this type cost 2,370 euros”, precise NV.
But this is not a first, on the part of Kadyrov. In February 2022, during a speech where he ordered President Volodymyr Zelensky to call Vladimir Putin to ask for forgiveness, the madman from Grozny had associated his military fatigues with a pair of boots identified as Prada Monolith, at 1,500 euros. In October of the same year, a Louis Vuitton boxing kit (bag, gloves, punching bag) would also have been spotted in Kadyrov’s office. Designed in 2014 by Karl Lagerfeldthe set sold in an ultra-limited series (25 copies), at some 160,000 euros, enough to feed his portrait as a dictator addicted to hyperluxury – available in all directions, clothes, cars, watches, mansions… The wife and daughter of Ramzan Kadyrov, Ayshat Kadyrovare themselves active in luxury fashion, via the Firdaws house dedicated to Islamic women’s clothing. A parade in 2020 in Parishad made a lot of teeth cringe.
To be handled with artificer’s precautions
Kadyrov who wears the Louis Vuitton jacket is an opportunity to recall how the camouflage print (“camo” for insiders) and more generally all the clothing borrowed from the military sphere are to be handled with the precautions of an artificer: if their attractions aesthetic and practical have been accepted for a long time, they also convey warlike connotations that are very easy to reactivate.
Regularly, as in Marseille and Aubagne in 2016 or at the end of 2019, exhibitions recall how much and how military clothing has infused fashion, inspiring designers or directly the street. And the camouflage print is one of its most popular codes. It appeared on the front lines during the First World War, echoing the changes in war material: hand-to-hand combat gave way to more distant confrontations made possible by poison gas, tanks, machine guns, aviation. Not being spotted becomes a priority. The French understood this after the British, the Russians and the Germans, who equipped their troops with green or khaki uniforms when those from France went on the attack in red pants and kepi coupled with a blue jacket… C It was a painter from Lorraine, Louis Guingot, who created the first camouflaged clothing in history for the French army. “The painter takes advantage of his experience as a decorator and draws inspiration from the mimicry of his chameleon to paint the jacket in three colors: green, brown and “Guingot blue” (a dark blue he designed). A month after the start of the war, Louis Guingot gave birth to the “leopard” jacket. noted the site of the archives of the Ministry of the Armed Forces. Gradually, each country will have its chameleon pattern, and from then on the patterns will be declined ad libitum, shades of khakis, beiges, browns, grays…
The total look is out of the question
It was in the 1960s that it entered pop culture, being adopted by anti-war Vietnam – alongside other elements of the military wardrobe, such as the M-65 multi-pocket jacket or the bomber typical of the GI pack. Pope Andy Warhol largely contributed to its popularization by a Self Portrait camouflaged. No wonder then that fashion caught on, just as it appropriated the trench coat, the parka, the cargo pants, the jacket, the safari jacket, the sailor’s deck pants, the military boots… Even candy pink camouflage is possible .
Afterwards, beware of skidding, any enlightened mind will tell you. The total camouflage look is out of the question, for example, unless you intend to participate in one of those fascistic grand-guignolesque parades recently observed in the streets of Paris. One element is more than enough, and it is imperative to mix it with codes from the civilian wardrobe – the stiletto heel, for example, or the very street hoodie – which breaks the military side and defuses any doubt about your ideological leanings. A camouflage jacket on Kadyrov, for example, is a tautology, a martial puffiness.