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Fashion Notes

Afghan Leader Has a Style All His Own

January 25, 2002

Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, seems to be the next men's fashion icon.

The soft-spoken Pushtun tribal leader, who took office as prime minister last month after the Taliban was toppled, often wears a green and purple striped Uzbek robe along with a lambskin cap. European media reported that Tom Ford, creative director of Gucci, said at a recent show in Milan that Karzai is "the most chic man in the world."

"We have achieved things. We are hoping to achieve more," Karzai, 44, told dignitaries Sunday at a reception in Tokyo.

"But one thing I was surprised about yesterday--which I'm so glad about--wearing the Afghan traditional chapan has become a fashion. I believe Gucci said something about it--that's one of the achievements," said the soft-spoken aristocrat.

"Let's add more to it," he said.

NAME BRAND: Bin Ladin jeans? Let's hope not. Swiss authorities are trying to make it tougher for one of Osama bin Laden's brothers to turn his last name into a fashion label.

Officials have moved to revoke the trademark "Bin Ladin" because it could offend people in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The move comes after reports last week that Yeslam Binladin, a Swiss citizen who spells his name differently than his brother, hoped to use the trademarked name on a clothing line.

Eric Meier, trademark director at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, said Swiss law doesn't protect trademarks that go against "accepted moral standards."

The trademark belongs to Falcon Sporting Goods, a Swiss firm owned by Binladin, 51, who has lived in Switzerland since 1985. The company can contest this recent move by Swiss authorities to revoke the trademark, which was approved just last year.

Binladin told the Swiss daily Le Temps last week that he didn't want to use his name for commercial ends and had filed for protection simply to prevent others from using it in bad taste.

He didn't comment on earlier remarks by his lawyer, Juerg Brand, that he was looking for a partner to produce a clothing line with a Bin Ladin label. Brand told the Wall Street Journal last week that the clothes would be marketed first in Arab countries and later in Europe, adding that lawyers were working on a trademark request in the United States.

Binladin, one of more than 50 full and half-siblings of Osama bin Laden, has said he and the whole family condemn his brother "for his acts and his convictions."

Compiled from wire reports

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