Ridiculous? Certainly not. Berlusconi's bandana puts him at the head of fashion

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The Independent Online

His spotted bandana may have been ridiculed in the UK as hopelessly out of place on the head of a 67-year-old world leader, but Silvio Berlusconi has tapped into a trend sweeping Europe.

His spotted bandana may have been ridiculed in the UK as hopelessly out of place on the head of a 67-year-old world leader, but Silvio Berlusconi has tapped into a trend sweeping Europe.

While the Italian press, used to the antics of " Il Cavaliere ", laughed at Britain's response to their prime minister's outfit as he welcomed the Blairs to his Sardinian villa on Monday, UK fashion retailers said that Mr Berlusconi's style was "spot on".

Stores have reported strong sales of the headgear this summer. Richard Gray, a spokesman for Harvey Nichols in London, said John Galliano's black and white skull bandana, priced at £80, had sold out.

"We had to re-order from Paris because they have been so popular. More and more men are wearing them in the cooler bars of London. In terms of a trend, Silvio Berlusconi was spot on," he said.

Mr Berlusconi is not the only man responding to the apparent resurgence of the bandana, championed by David Beckham in 1999.

Stuart Wilson, a contestant in Channel 4's reality show Big Brother , wore a patterned blue bandana for much of his stay in the house. Mr Gray said: "He did a lot for the cause of the bandana. People like him have given men permission to start experimenting with the bandana."

In the Italian resort of Porto Rotondo, not far from Mr Berlusconi's Villa Certosa, the quayside was bustling with men in bandanas the morning after Mr Berlusconi's coup de théâtre .

A Sardinian journalist claimed the bandana was designed to conceal the scars of a recent hair transplant operation, but the sudden crop of bandanas indicated that the prime minister was well up with European trends.

James Sherwood, a fashion commentator, said: "They are popular on the beaches of Italy and the Greek islands and they are better than baseball caps. Very few men look good in hats and Berlusconi has definitely chosen the lesser of many evils, although his headscarf was a little flashy and macho," he said.

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