Pope needs makeover, says Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli would like to make over what he called Pope Benedict XVI's "cold" image and his "showy" clothes, an Italian newspaper reported yesterday.

"Benedict XVI still has a cold way of communicating, little suited to what is happening around him," Zeffirelli was quoted as telling Turin daily La Stampa. "Even his wardrobe needs to be revised," the 84-year-old film director said.

Instead, his robes should reflect "sobriety", the director added. "The papal vestments [are] too sumptuous and showy."

Benedict, lacking his predecessor Pope John Paul II's natural charisma, has taken to wearing eye-stopping outfits, such as a red velvet cape trimmed in ermine, a fur-trimmed stocking cap that some first mistook for a Santa Claus hat, and bright red Prada loafers.