Rebekah Brooks

Rebekah Brooks has finally taken the stand to speak for herself in the British phone hacking trial, now entering its fourth month. And what did she choose to wear for the occasion? A plain sapphire blue dress, cream cardigan, thin gold chain, tights, and low-heeled shoes. No makeup. Famous hair restrained. She looked, in other words, not dissimilar to the stereotype of a home counties matron. She did not look like a master of the media universe. For a courtroom observer, it’s a notable choice – as much because of the selections she has made in the past that were seemingly rejected for the stand. 

Let’s be honest: Rebekah Brooks, ex-CEO of News International UK brought down by the phone hacking scandal, does not have a great image – and I’m not just talking about her executive style. The riot of red hair with which she is closely associated, combined with her tendency to wear black, landed her on the cover of Private Eye recently with the title, “Salem Witch Trial”. But today a new movie bowed, to pretty rapturous reviews, that may do a surprising amount to change perception. 

I woke up this morning to two pieces of related, and interesting, news (news in my context, that is): first, Rebekah Brooks had NOT worn black after all yesterday in Parliament as I thought when I wrote about her on the day, but rather dark blue (my bad); and second, the heroine of the whole event was the woman in pink. Wendi Murdoch, who leapt to her husband’s defense and wacked his would-be “attacker,” is today’s hit of the blogosphere. Why does this matter? It points out the issues, good and bad, with the science of colour when it comes to dress and public appearance.
 

The thing I’m waiting for today is what Rupert and James Murdoch are going to wear to testify before Parliament. Appearance has played a not insignificant role in this drama: Rupert has, since his re-appearance in Britain to stem the scandal, been described as looking “old”; James as being less charming than his father thanks to his “Marine crewcut” (Newsweek) and little glasses; and Rebekah Brooks – well, let’s just say “hair.” If they were characters in a TV serial, these would be the distinguishing features noted by the script writers to encapsulate character.