The Anna-Wintour-for-ambassador rumours that have surrounded the US Vogue editor in chief ever since she became a “super-bundler” for Barack Obama have picked up steam lately: on Monday, even erstwhile presidential non-contender Donald Trump offered his two cents on the matter (“I think she’d be an amazing choice”). But c’mon guys: let’s think about this realistically for the moment.
I was struck last night at the British Fashion Awards by Samantha Cameron’s appearance to present the New Establishment award to Erdem Moralioglu (that’s them, below). This marks Mrs C’s third time at the awards — she’s actually officially an “ambassador” for UK fashion — a record that is unequalled by any First Lady in any other country; certainly, any other country where fashion represents a meaningful part of industrial exports. So here’s what I wonder: why hasn’t Mrs Cameron had more impact on fashion? Or rather, on the global perception of UK fashion?
Check out the picture below of the incoming members of the Politburo Standing Committee. Those ties! Those suits! That hair parting. If, as my colleagues point out today, the reduction in membership of China’s ruling committee from nine to seven is “an effort to make collective decision-making less contentious and more efficient,” this gives new meaning to the idea of sartorial unity. Read more
It was inevitable, I suppose, that in l’Affaire Patraeus currently gripping the United States, clothes would come to play a part. Fashion is always a key part of any seduction narrative, because it is such a classic weapon of allure (and no, these words are not accidental). Paula Broadwell’s de facto signature has become her “toned arms” as widely and regularly displayed in various sleeveless outfits. Read more
Whoever wins the American presidential race next Tuesday, one thing is certain: he will accept his election in a single-breasted dark suit, white shirt and (it’s 99 per cent sure) red or blue tie. How do we know this?
This is not a trick question. The English supermodel and the American President have, however, adopted a similar approach to dressing. Read more
If anyone is in doubt about how President Obama will look tonight, during the last debate of this increasingly close election, here’s a clue, courtesy of Michael Lewis’s Vanity Fair profile. Read more
You know that song “Blame Canada” that has entered the annals of history thanks to South Park? Well, now it has a literary competitor: a new book by historian William Howard Adams from Potomac Books entitled “On Luxury.” The subtitle is “A Cautionary Tale,” but it fact the general argument can be summed up in two word: “Blame luxury.” For everything. Read more
Forget Belgium; Bernard Arnault should follow a number of his compatriots and move to the UK. The small country to the North (sorry) certainly appears to be doing its best to woo the mogul — aka France’s richest man, aka chairman of LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate — anyway, by vaulting him up the honours ranks. Today, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced the Queen is giving M Arnault the relatively rare KBE, for “services to business and the wider community in the UK.”
I just received what I think has got to be the most egregious example of mutual appreciation that I’ve yet seen on the part of luxury and the tax authorities that benefit from it. Which doesn’t mean it’s not significant. Read more
Oooooh, I sense another Fashion Week trend! After the Qatari sovereign wealth fund bought Harrod’s in 2010, and an un-named Qatari bought a large minority chunk of Anya Hindmarch in August – and following the Qatari royal Family’s purchase of Valentino the month before — now a private equity fund, AGC, backed by Middle Eastern investors, has taken the bulk of the minority stake in UK ready-to-wear brand Amanda Wakeley, a go-to label for the Duchess of Cambridge (that’s her, wearing AW, in both photos below). Does no one else think something significant is going on? Read more
Mitt Romney wavering between red and blue ties, Paul Ryan’s ill-fitting suits, Barack Obama’s undone knots, Michelle Obama’s move away from Oscar de la Renta and Ann Romney’s embrace of the same – all the sartorial talk during the Republican and Democratic conventions of the past two weeks. Does any of it really matter?
Shouldn’t we focus on the debate, reality and fantasy surrounding the candidates – on Medicare, abortion, taxes, the euro and the renminbi? Isn’t this obsessive litany and analysis of what our public figures wear and how they wear it unseemly, old-fashioned, sexist (there was much more comment on Ann Romney’s red dress than her husband’s red tie) and superficial?
In one of those cosmic coincidences of timing, the last night of the Democratic convention, where President Obama talked often about the long hard, road ahead, also coincided with Fashion’s Night Out, that sybaritic extravaganza of shopping and schmoozing (well, mostly schmoozing, if you listen to retailers who Do Not Want to be Named) that also happened to mark the first day of New York Fashion Week. It made for a pretty powerful contrast. STill, my favourite fashion moment was not the Karaoke at Michael Kors, but rather what was on stage at the DNC, from Mr O’s tie to Mrs O’s new designer. Read more
If anyone still doubted the fact that the Obama camp is embracing former President Bill Clinton and vice versa, last night’s convention put an end to it, not only because of what the former President said, very eloquently, but because of how the two men looked. I mean – this is like high school: they’re almost matching! Read more
Last night at the DNC, during a pre-speech convention interview, First Lady Michelle Obama (then wearing DVF) told Deborah Norville , who was excitedly asking her what she was going to wear on stage, that she didn’t know, and she would pick what she likes. Frankly, after seeing her choice — a dress by an African-American female designer from Detroit, Tracy Reese — I believe this like I believe gullible isn’t in the dictionary. Read more
Despite having displayed an admirable consistency during the campaign thus far, dress if not policy-wise, yesterday night Mitt Romney gave up the sartorial fight, and switched sides. Yes, like so many of his winning predecessors before him, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W Bush (once), for his speech accepting the Republican party nomination for President, he wore…a red tie. Why do we care?
A number of questions were answered about Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s VP pick, during his speech last night at the Republican Convention last night. Would he come out fighting? Check. Would he address the Medicare issue? Kind of. Would he make winning jokes about his new boss? Check. Would his famously ill-fitting, too baggy suits, which Esquire likened to a trash bag, be given a Sarah-Palin-type makeover? Nope. Now the question is: why not?
Oscar de la Renta, the designer who was for decades the bipartisan go-to man for first ladies from Nancy Reagan to Hillary Clinton to Laura Bush (he even made Jenna Bush’s wedding dress), but who has been somewhat sidelined during the Obama years, stepped back onto centre stage last night in Tampa — metaphorically speaking — thanks to Ann Romney, whose brilliant, very Republican red, belted dress came from the brand. It was a meaningful choice, alluding to Washington tradition as well as the LA-NY-DC financial/social nexus, for whom Mr De La Renta is a go-to name. And it put Mrs Romney in pretty stark opposition to Michelle Obama. Read more
Ok, well, those political pundits had to talk about something when the first day of the Republican convention got cancelled. So on what have they focused their searing analytical eyes? The news that Glamour magazine, the elephant (yes, the Republicans have a creeping influence on our linguistic sub-conscious) in the Conde Nast stable, has snagged an interview with President Obama. The general reaction: Glamour ergo fluff. But is this fair? Read more
Allow me to toot our own horn here for a moment, and note there’s a very interesting piece today in the FT by my colleague Stephanie Kirchgaessner on various industries and the presidential candidate they support. Romney seems to have come out on top in a bunch of them, at least as far as donations go but at least one other industry that wasn’t on the list skews very heavily BO (unfortunate initials, I know): fashion.