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Among weightier issues, Obama tackles fashion and hair at APEC

Now that Silvio Berlusconi is out of the picture, who is going to put the fun back into international diplomacy? Judging by his appearances at recent photocalls in New York City, Cannes and on Sunday in Hawaii, Barack Obama could be that man.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

At one point, Gillard swiped at her hair and made an undecipherable comment. Obama then gestured toward his own head of hair and said, “Me, too,” to laughter from the other APEC dignitaries.

A conversation between Obama and Gillard could be overheard with talk of grass skirts and coconut bras before Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Echenique asked, "Where are the Hawaiian shirts?"

Obama replied: "We are ending that tradition."

There had been some speculation that the aloha shirts were scrapped to avoid the appearance of world leaders acting frivolous during a time of economic austerity. Asked about the decision, Obama said leaders were given an aloha shirt, "And if they wanted to wear the shirt I promise you it would've been fine. But I didn't hear a lot of complaints about us breaking precedent on that one."

He said he had looked at past family photos, "and some of the garb that had appeared previously, and I thought: this may be a tradition that we might want to break."

Read more on the silliness that ensued at the 'family photo' shoot here and check out a more serious take on the conference here.