They are two domains which probably wouldn’t want to admit their proximity to one another; fashion and politics. But floating on the controversial cloud of speculation that is the prospect of Anna Wintour as the US ambassador to the UK is us smug, self-confessed campaigners of Fashion. Rumours are once again rife about Obama and his aids considering Vogue’s very own head of state as a diplomat, and why not? Wintour is British by birth, despite her role at U.S Vogue, and her family has well, some history in politics with a brother who is political Editor of The Guardian. Many have commented that Wintour is less qualified than other candidates just because she dedicates her life to a perceived trivial industry, even if it is one of the most fruitful for the US economy. The whole debacle leads me to question whether politics can ever really be void of fashion?
Being a politician is one of the most demanding and challenging jobs going, along with being a LFW runner and walking the VS catwalk in 6 inchers on an empty stomach. A post reserved for the most conservative of dressers and with a pre-requisite of having no personal style (see Tony Blair circa 1997-2007), world leaders couldn’t be more removed from the fashion world, yet still oh so close.
Exhibit A: President of the United States – Barack Obama
During his 2012 election campaign, Barack’s people’s decision to launch a different kind of campaign altogether cumulated in a fashion line flogging everything from Tory Burch handbags, to luxury silk scarves by Anna Wintour’s championed designer Thakoon. The President’s much-mocked collaboration with the Vogue Ed-In-Chief was no high street campaign, earning revenues of Fifth Avenue proportions. The devil herself observed way back in the 2007 fly-on-the-wall documentary The September Issue that “on the whole, people that say demeaning things about our world, I think that’s usually because in some ways they feel excluded, so as a result they just mock it.”
The First Lady of the U.S has also had her fair share of fashion headlines, with style blogs dedicated to Mrs O herself. I mean we all remember where we were the day the news broke that Michelle had chosen British fashion power house Alexander McQueen, or Sarah Burton if we’re being pedantic, to dress her to the state dinner – right?
And as if that’s not enough, long time Obama supporter Beyoncé bound the two worlds of fashion and politics together for eternity when she stepped out sporting the largest and most political gold hoop earrings I have ever seen. Yes you heard, political earrings – stick that on your S/S 13 wish list.
Exhibit B: Prime Minister of Great Britain – David Cameron
Once famous, or not so, for his line “you don’t have to tell me how important the fashion industry is – it employs my wife”; D-Cam can’t avoid the pressures of the fashion world either. Scrutinised whilst on holiday for being too “matchy matchy” with his wife and for wearing socks and sandals, our country’s leader is never too far from the poisonous tirades of the ever-verbal fash-pack.
But we’re not really interested in a dowdy politician who appears to have been advised that Navy is in season every season, from now until the end of time. We are interested in his wife however; former creative director at Smythson, regular front row-dweller at London Fashion Week and general all round fashion icon Samantha Cameron. She has backed all manner of names from Vivienne Westwood, to Erdem, to everyone’s favourite (sorry, my favourite) Zara. My personal Sam Cam highlight is her Roksanda Ilincic ensemble which she wore to accompany her fellow First Lady of fashion during a state visit.
So if two of the world’s most influential political leaders can step into our world, why can’t our leader step into theirs? You’ll see my “Wintour for President campaign” coming to a shop window near you very soon…