Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Heart You, Chantal Biya


Chantal Biya, wife of Cameroon President Paul Biya, not seen, reacts as she waits for the plane carrying Pope Benedict XVI to take off, in Yaounde, Cameroon, Friday, March 20, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI departed for Angola Friday on the second leg of his first papal visit to Africa. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)


I decided that Goddess Chantal is, after all, a benevolent deity. OK, she's faintly ludicrous, but everything I've read suggests she works hard for her pet causes and is sincere in her efforts. Plus, as the wife of a dictator, why shouldn't she be fabulous? And that is what she is: fabulous, if ever there were an appropriate occasion to use an overused word. Chantal has that extra bit of exuberance, almost reckless, but with all the confidence needed to pull it off. She IS fabulous!

"Is First Lady Chantal a 'saint of style'," wonders Misi Coker at Africanloft.com in a must-read post, "or is she just a fashion challenged, extravagant wife of an African dictator?" My response is this: can't she be all that and more?

Let's talk about the hat. OK, you thought Aretha Franklin won the Hat of the Year award? Not even close:


(AFP/Getty Images) March 17, 2009

THAT is what Chantal had concocted for her Papal greeting. It is beyond beyond, beautifully made and I love it. Here she is with Ratzo:


(AP Photo)

I don't like the Pope, but is there anything wrong with over-the-top fancy dress to meet the Pope? Of course not! Is there anything right with it? Well, if you ask me, the pictures speak for themselves.

Let's have a Chantal roundup:

  • From Cameroon: "...her fashion sense has caused much debate amongst those who have come across it."
  • LA Times ponders the celebulocity of the African first ladies' Hollywood visit, notes that Chantal looks like "a lioness." They also have a more serious article about it here.
  • Women's International Perspective has a nice write-up on the conference.
  • Here's the official government press release version from Cameroon that makes Chantal sound like Mother Teresa and doesn't mention sensational outfits or her posing for pictures with hotel heiress celebutards.
  • The UK Daily Mail again uses fabulous Chantal as a foil for Sarah Brown's scandalous dowdiness, complete with comical word balloons added to wire photos.
  • Perez Hilton declares Chantal FAB, and wonders what the hell [hotel heiress celebutard] was doing there.
  • TMZ said Chantal looks like a drag queen. Is that supposed to be an insult? We love drag queens!


I say two sparkley hooves WAY UP for Goddess Chantal, benevolent dictator's glamorous wife, owner of the sensational hairdo, wearer of the daring couture, holder of the sacred quilted Chanel handbag. Um, YOU GO or something!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

After looking at her hat with il Papa, I will strongly reconsider my decision not to join the priesthood.

Cynica said...

Let's not overlook the incredible chartreuse chiffon evening gown and platform shoes she wore to a vespers service conducted by the Pope. It was Oscar red-carpet worthy. And the hair was bigger and better than ever.

Christopher said...

She really steals every scene doesn't she? You've got a love a woman willing to out dress the Pope. She will wear white at your wedding, and you'll love her for it.(Or her husband will have you killed. That is the perfect combination of stylie and a military to back it up. Condi's boots don't seem so special now.

Fabulana said...

If the Pope, and all those lurking cardinals, aren't envious of that headgear, they should be! Not knowing where the line of drag/parody begins with Chantal makes it all the MORE delicious.

Let us marvel on the hat itself...first, it's so African in inspiration, a textile fantasy concoction; it's a crown, it's a headwrap, it's a billowing flag, it's the sails of a clipper ship carrying god's word out unto the heathens, starched in place for all eternity...

FranIAm said...

What Fabulana said. As the resident Catholic of this blog, I know that the Pope and all of his friends simply covet all of her finery... I mean this is a man who wears red shoes, furry stoles, crazy hats and he giggles. (Like when he's not being all mean 'n shit and talking crazy about what really causes AIDS.)As for her looking like a drag queen - it is about the best thing to say. Deliciously and delightfully true!

Karen Zipdrive said...

It takes some colossal fashion balls to wear a hat with crosses on it to meet the pope.
I mean, doesn't he have a trademark or something on crosses?

rdale said...

So there's a guy who wears a long white robe and a little yarmluke-kinda hat, and people think she dresses weird?

dguzman said...

Worship her or die!

TeleFrank said...

according to Wiki, "Her signature [hair]style is called the banane, and is used for formal occasions. Biya has popularised other styles; collectively, they are known as the Chantal Biya."

lebecka said...

Fabulana-- please, like start a blog or something so I can enjoy your purple prose on a daily basis. It is the verbal equivalent of Chantal's headgear.

samael7 said...

That is one HELL of a hat. Honestly, if you'd told me before this post that somewhere, out there, was a hat worthy of her coif, I'd have laughed in your face and told you to pull the other one.

Shut my mouth and call me late for dinner.

Lulu Maude said...

Love the papa-razzy bonnet. She is no doubt supporting local hairdresser couture into the bargain.

Anonymous said...

come on now ... thats an african headtie not a hat please ....

Sister Wolf said...

I love her. Just became a fan of her at facebook. If only we could get a Chanel handbag count for her!

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot. She is ugly as hell