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Bulletproof Chic

       The phrase "Discretion is the better part of valor" has just been updated to "Discretion is the better part of investing in bulletproof couture,” thanks to the sartorial talents of Columbian designer Miguel Caballero.
       His line of stylish outerwear was created to protect political higher ups, business moguls, movie stars and anyone else who can afford the $5,000-10,000 price tags from assassination by rivals, dissenters, and overzealous fans å la Mark David Chapman. Bulky Kevlar plates are so yesterday. Caballero insists that his relatively lightweight leather jackets, Italian-esque suits and even polo shirts can withstand everything from revolvers to Uzis.
       It’s an interesting re-interpretation of Falstaff’s bon mot about avoiding foolhardy rushes into battle. Caballero -- whose name is a form of cavalier, a soldier who fights on horseback -- is banking on battle avoidance, and his timing is apparently spot on.
       The Armani of Armor. What an apt signifier for the state of things.
       His promotional videos feature attractive young women being shot at very close range while trying not to grimace. And it says something about the importance of maintaining faith in one’s ideas; his line of bespoke clothing was developed 16 years back in Columbia, where it was extremely popular with both fashion-conscious drug cartels and their targets. Now, it seems, the rest of the world is catching up. (One can't help wondering what might - or might not - have transpired had such high-tech couture been available in the 1960s.)
       The “discretion” part has to do with Caballero’s clientele -- a list at least as well-guarded as those of Karl Lagerfeld and Gianfranco Ferre. Still, Mr. C. has let slip that President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and the Hollywood actor Steven Seagal are among his patrons; rumor has it (the designer’s marketing savvy at work?) that Barack Obama donned his designs on inauguration day.
       Now if only Mr. C. can come up with something to protect The First Lady from being pelted with criticisms about the indiscretion of baring her arms in public....