The Devil’s Double: A Sartorial Cause for Comment

Slipping under the mainstream radar is the recent release of “The Devil’s Double,” a pyrotechnical composition that is vividly gilded and artfully styled.

Rudimentary at its core, the film delineats the story of Latif Yahia, the kidnapped body double for Saddam Hussein’s eldest son, Uday. Given the subject matter and the fact that Uday can hardly be fathomed as a protagonist amidst the context of his father’s tyranny and the Gulf war, “The Devil’s Double” does not bring anything groundbreaking to what could have been an award-winning performance. Nonetheless, Dominic Cooper gives a handsomely persuasive and chilly delivery, toggling between Latif and Uday, an angel and a devil, exhibiting profound distinction between a noble man full of humility and the sadistic degenerate who loves to party, rape, kill, and dress up.

What is most worthy of comment is Anna B. Sheppard’s craft and skill. The wardrobe, accessories, and general undercurrent of  “The Devil’s Double” are a splendid exhibition of eighties poise, style, and Arabian vogue. Striking, is the film’s visual experience, for we have been, too often, accustomed to the deplorable fabrics and silhouettes of such an era. The film, however, transports one romantically, amidst the cocaine, violence and perversion, to a distinct sartorial appreciation for an era that we mustn’t always consign to oblivion.

Devil's Double Ferrari Suit

As big cigars, Rolexes, Ferraris, and oversized shiny pistols are flaunted, Cooper embodies regal opulence like no other. His wardrobe, reminiscent of Brioni and Versace, is all handmade by Anna, even his shoes, most distinctly a red pair, characteristic of the Prada loafers the pope himself dons.

Devil's Double Tie and Suit

With a personal distaste for the pompous pinstripe, Anna B. Sheppard brings forth an appeal to the impudent pattern along with a gilded tie that harks to Versace.

Devil's Double Military

Who knew that Arab tyranny and hypocrisy could look so sexy?

Devil's Double Mustache Beard

Uday’s grooming regimen employed growing a mustache alongside a prominent 5 o’clock shadow. The mustache, a retro Arab symbol of machismo has never looked so good.

Devil's Double Rolex Shirt Cufflinks

Note the oversized golden watch, cufflinks and block colored shirt.

Devil's Double Speedo

This is what everyone who wears speedos thinks they look like.

Devil's Double Shirt Pattern

The eighties haven never seemed more alluring with the employment of intricate patterns in rich and dark colors.

Devil's Double Olympic Track Suits

Uday ended up as President of the National Olympic Iraqi Committee, his uniform commands such undeserved jurisdiction.

The Devil's Double Shirt Piping

Part Bollywood kitch but mostly fantastic shirting. Note the asymmetric navy piping.

Devil's Double Military Arab

The perfect ensemble for an Arabian assassination attempt.


TOMS | English Herringbone

Toms English Herringbone

I’ve finally found the gentlemen’s equivalent to the women’s ballet flat, the uncomplicated default for function and style. In herringbone, Toms are reinterpreted: a little less peasant and a little more elegant. Perfect for airport travel but also a day or night out on the town. The interior is plaid and in flannel, a suitable nod to the cooler seasons heading our way.

La Morena | Hot and Sour Chicken Soup

La Morena

I’ve always had an affinity for chipotle sauce and anything adobo. Having said that, I’ve never been the type to whip some up or use something pre made in my few feeble attempts at Mexican. That changed when more recently, I made it into Pioneer, a rough around the edges supermarket unsuited for the UWS in all its gentrified glory. Strolling through the aisles I noticed a shiny stack of an orange tin can with the illustration of a brunette with a Frida Kahlo sort of disposition, sans the unibrow.


La Morena who always seems to be gazing into the distance, unfazed by your election to pick her from what appeared to be a canned good pageant, has a whole line of delicious sauces and marinades to choose from. It this sort of packaging that reminds me of heirloom products that my mother used in her cooking. Notably, Sipa, a French couscous brand that was a staple in her pantry, and Clara, a Middle Eastern ghee, who like La Morena, embellished the tin which held the kitchen elixir. Clara was attractive; but less Kahlo and more Arab Stepford housewife. The kind of woman whose husband would come home to, perhaps a little past one in the afternoon, finding a gorgeously coiffed Clara with full makeup on, placing finishing touches on a splendid lunch.

La Morena’s Homemade Style Chipotle Sauce, not to be confused with one that has peppers in it, is, in my opinion the perfect Mexican condiment to have in your pantry. When attempting to emulate a Chipotle burrito bowl or do something even a little more creative, it has just the right mix of heat, sweetness and acidity. On an arbitrary whim I sauteed some chicken with a whole can of the stuff, and added some parsley at the end. The result was a soup with a great flavor profile. You can substitute the parsley for cilantro. With either, make sure you add it at the very end, right before serving.

Soundtracking Moments: November Number

November Number

1. Benny Benassi – Cinema
2. Astaire – L-L-Love
3. David Guetta Feat. Sia – Titanium
4. Selena Gomez – Love You Like a Love Song
5. Kaskade Feat. Dragonette – Fire In Your New Shoes
6. Florrie – Left Too Late
7. James Blunt – Dangerous
8. The Sound of Camden Feat. Mutya Buena – Come As You Are
9. Natural Self – Feet Keep Moving
10. Madonna – Intervention

© 2011 Art by Faris Habayeb