Yeah, so we get it, Obama may not necessarily live up to all the great expectations that are usually reserved for placing pressure upon Greek Gods, superheroes, and Finchley sixth graders studying for the 11 plus. But you know what? At least he does it in style. Before him, the risks city traders took in gambling away our credit was nothing compared to the risk they could have gone into the office sans tie. Before him, Hart Schaffner Marx was just your everyday all American tailor.
Fashion and choice of suitable attire on the campaign run can always be a fun and experimental time. Come election day, while many doors open, one door gets shoved, locked and bolted. No longer is it acceptable to don clothes in the public arena that have not been designed by the hand of your fellow countryman. In fact, it is deemed positively unpatriotic. Jackie O, née Kennedy, fiercely championed Oleg Cassini, purveyor of shift dresses and kid gloves. In spite of this, one of Jackie’s favourite designers actually resided in Paris: Hubert de Givenchy. "Mrs. Kennedy was the first political wife to understand the power of magazines and television. She loved Paris fashion, but she had to give it up for political reasons,” says Pamela Golbin in the Herald Tribune. Would the relationship between politics and fashion have developed into international bedfellows had Jackie chosen differently all those years ago? Would Carla Bruni-Sarkozy have explored slightly further afield than her beloved Yves? Heck, she was an international supermodel, she surely has the contacts to get hold of some Oscar de la Renta to indulge her 1950s prom queen, or some Miuccia for her quirky side.
Everyone seems to be championing Michelle Obama’s wardrobe du jour, but let’s not get carried away here. She does seem to have a knack for picking some classic shifts, pearls, and bouffants, but to label her iconic so early on may be a little bold. Afterall, Jackie came into her own in the 1980s, reinforcing her love for the big-O sunglasses, crisp white shirts and black capri’s.
Michelle certainly has potential: flair, grace, and panache. But longevity is key. Will she be able to pull it off, ten, twenty years from now? ...To Be Confirmed. Can she pull it off today?
Yes, she can.
The Later Years: Jackie in New York, paparazzi fodder:
Ron Galella became a furiously dedicated snapper of Jackie, to the point where Jackie bought an injunction against Galella in 1972 after a very public trial.
With the Reagans, 1986:
The New First Family:
Pamela Golbin: http://www.iht.com/articles/2002/11/19/fjackie_ed3_.php
Leading Obama pic: www.daylife.com
Jackie in Peach dress: www.metmuseum.org
Men’s suit: http://www.hartschaffnermarx.com/mensstore/
Carla with Queen pic: www.people.com
Michelle in orange: www.sanfrancisosentinel.com
Michelle with the kids: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/
Michelle in purple, with Barack: www.bet.com/Lifestyle/
Michelle in ruffle neck top: http://www.swamppolitics.com
Obama family: http://www.donkeydish.com
Jackie in check suit: http://beautyblabber.com
Jackie with sunglasses, close shot: http://img2.timeinc.net
Jackie in white: http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/
Jackie with The Reagans: http://en.wikipedia.org
Ron Galella/Jackie pic: http://hangten.typepad.com