Designer Praises Afghan Leader's Fashion Sense

It's natural to take fashion cues from the famous — witness the popularity of torn lace after Madonna's "Like a Virgin" — but the latest fashion icon won't be seen on MTV.

According to Gucci designer, Tom Ford, Hamid Karzai, the interim leader of Afghanistan, is the world's emperor of clothes-sense.

"The chicest man on the planet today is the new president of Afghanistan, whose look is very elegant and very proud," Ford said after showing his fall-winter 2002-03 collection during Milan's menswear shows.

The ANSA news agency quoted Ford as saying Karzai embodied the look of his new collection, the theme of which is a "return to the formality" of the 1930s.

Karzai's catwalk is the world stage, where he appears almost daily on TV wearing flowing, elegant capes and a gray lambswool hat. When he was installed as Afghanistan's interim leader in December, he wore a splendid green-and-purple ceremonial cloak.

On a visit to Rome before the ceremony to visit Afghanistan's exiled king, the urbane Karzai, 44, spent a morning shopping on the fashionable Via della Croce.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.