Barack Obama

For so long, fashion was so good for the Obamas: it clothed them, made Mrs O into a celebrity whose every outfit was lovingly tracked, and won them kudos for promoting new business and helping young entrepreneurs. The way they looked – the labels they wore — positioned the First Couple as global, youthful, daring: a new brand to rebrand the country. And then, this week, it bit them. 

There is a tendency, among political leaders, especially of the UK-US variety, to engage in sartorial covert diplomacy during state visits; for the visitor to effectively mirror the dress of the visitee in order to suggest a discrete sort of understanding of the agenda — at least as far as photo ops go. Yesterday, however, when David Cameron showed up for his current US trip, the changed nature of the relationship seemed to be reflected in his wardrobe. One day in, there’s been zero matchy-matchy.

 

The colour gurus at the Pantone Colour Institute have released their predictions for top colours of Fall 2012, just in time for New York Fashion Week. And why, you ask, should non-fashion people care? Because, I say, this will give us a sense of what we are going to see on the general election trail this fall.

(It is also an indication of the shades we may be inexplicably, but inexorably drawn to as we embark on post-holiday, back-to-work shopping.) 

To a certain extent every national leader is in a form of costume every day of their term, but today this issue takes on a very specific meaning. Tonight, after all, thousands of children will dress up like everything from Leonid Brezhnev to Ninja turtles and though in 2009 the White House joined in the fun, with Michelle Obama dressing up like a cat complete with spotty ears and painted-on whiskers, this year, celebrating three days early, she opted for almost no costume at all. It’s a telling evolution.

 

Dunno about you, but I thought debates were useful in part because they help voters distinguish between candidates. Yesterday in Iowa for their first showdown in the bizarrely important early primary state, many of the Republican wanna-be presidents seemed to have forgotten that tenet, and instead dressed to be indistinguishable – not only from each other, but from President Barack Obama,  

If ever a man tried to telegraph the fact he was stuck between two competing factions via his tie, it’s Barack Obama.

 

Rick Perry, the Texas governor who is apparently exploring the idea of a 2012 presidential bid, has at least one thing going for him, other than his catchy “Texas job creation” theme: his hair. It’s lush! It’s long! It’s electable! 

If the Obamas trip to the UK isn’t the most sartorially co-ordinated opening of a State visit in history, I’ll eat my Philip Treacy hat.

 

I was struck by the fact, watching President Obama’s speech last night announcing the death of Osama Bin Laden, that for the occasion he had donned classic commander-in-chief mufti. 

I think you could have guessed at the message of unity and compromise (kind of) even before President Barack Obama opened his mouth last night. Or any art major could.

Instead of opting for his classic signature tie in that nice shade of True Blue (worn at least 90 per cent of the time over the last two years during public appearances, the meeting with Hu Jintao last week being a rare exception), or swapping sides entirely to wear Reagan Red in a direct appeal for fellowship to Republicans, he opted for a sort of bluish lilac shade.

Or, as one friend wrote, “Wisteria.”

And, if you look at the two guys behind him – Biden in blue stripes, Boehner in pink – and then combine the colours of their ties, you get….sort of a bluish lilac.

Compromise! A little of his agenda, a little of their’s!