I've been scanning the photos from Pope Benedict XVI's ongoing visit to Cameroon, and it's hard not to notice the amazing headgear worn by Cameroonian First Lady Chantal Biya to the welcoming ceremony at the Yaounde airport Tuesday. It looks like some combination of a miter and a head wrap. Here's a detail shot:
I asked Globe style writer Christopher Muther what he made of the hat; he was clearly impressed:
"Carla Bruni-Sarkozy? Michelle Obama? Neither of these glamorous first ladies can compare to style icon Chantal Biya, the first lady of Cameroon. Chantal and her continent of hair met the Pope yesterday, and you can tell that the Pontiff was thinking "How can I grow my eyebrows like that" through the entire encounter. Her hair is so amazing that it has a style named after it (seriously) -- the Chantal Biya. Chantal even showed up the Pope's miter with her jaunty head wrap, which was adorned with tasteful crosses for the occasion. No further deliberation is necessary; it's time to declare Mrs. Biya a saint of style."
(Photo at top, by Issouf Sanogo/AFP, shows the pope, Cameroonian President Paul Biya, and his wife Chantal, at the airport in Yaounde on 3/17/09. Photo at center, of Chantal Biya, also by Issouf Sanogo/AFP.)
Here are some photos of the crowds in the streets of Yaounde today:
(Photo, by Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters, shows young Cameroonians receiving a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI during a Vespers service outside the Marie Reine des Aprotes Basilic in Yaounde on 3/18/09.)
(Photo, by Rebecca Blackwell/AP, shows students reacting to a sudden downpour as they waited outside the basilica where Pope Benedict XVI was celebrating Vespers in Yaounde on 3/18/09.)
(Photo, by Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters, shows women sitting by religious paintings ahead of the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI at the basilica to celebrate Vespers in Yaounde on 3/18/09.)