Thursday, 8 November 2012
The Politics of Style: Mrs O & The Presidential Election
The Obamas have made politics sexy again. Obama may have only got a narrow popular mandate, but he got the backing of the ethnic, gay and youth vote. The future in fact. And that is painfully hip. Romney, bless him, who outside of his presidential bids, has had a career history decidedly moderate for a Republican, is very passée in comparison. Ms Spats drunk on real time updates (how did we survive prior to smartphones ?) has been most taken with Sky News' very fancy tables and can now feverishly tell you, bugeyed, about where exactly the Republicans are going wrong: those who voted for Romney were predominately old and white. Which means unless they reach out to the Latinos, pansexuals and the women ( in terms of the ideal voter, a cross dressing gay man with a great relationship with his mother latterly from Buenos Aires with a yen for playing the stock market ought to fit the bill nicely), their support base is like to diminish by about 2 percent each year, as the hoary old men die off, muttering darkly about big government and the death of the SME.
The Republicans need to get sexy. So far what they have thrown up for voter consumption has been desperately mediocre. You had "I can see Russia from my house" Palin, the opulent soccer mom Bachmann, and the regular all American Romney. The soapbox that is the American Presidency does not need 'regular', it needs the bodacious. A convincing reason as to why $ 3 billion dollars could be spent on something which, bewilderingly, does not even guarantee the election of the most popular candidate (their electoral college confounds Ms Spats). The presidency is a blockbuster of an event, it needs candidates worthy of its bombast.
Ms Spats is convinced that the sexiness factor is Obama's secret to his success. When he strides to the podium, high fives and gives that shit eating grin, Ms Spats can forgive his lacklustre performance over the past four years and gets seduced all over again by the mega watt glamour.
Although Ms Spats was by no means certain that Obama would serve two terms, she relaxed somewhat when learning that Anna Wintour, fashion's grand dame, was backing the president's bid for second term to the tune of $500 million through organizing various fundraisers and similar events. The fashion world loves the Democratic party, so much so that they have twice put its first ladies on the cover of their fashion bible, Vogue. The fashion industry is made up predominantly of homosexuals, immigrants and the hedonistic -- its couturiers are by nature iconoclasts who would find the Republican cause not only repugnant but threatening. Poor Ms Romney found this out to her cost. During the campaign while designers were falling all over themselves to dress Michelle O and cranked out breathless press releases on the occasion of her stepping out in one of their creations, Mrs R received short shrift: When she wore a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, a press officer rather sniffily commented that they had "No idea where she got it from". If it had been FLOTUS they would have been falling all over themselves to stress how the ethic of the designer closely matched that of the First Lady in a myriad of ways -- as it was ...
Michelle Obama is arguably, the first first lady to have any trendsetting effect since Jackie O. Her palette is quite basic-- dresses and tops that show off her toned arms and trim waist, little cardies and small heels. She has no fear of bold patterns, and with her height and statuesque form she can carry off statement jewellery and riotous colours with aplomb. Reagan and Bush did a natty line in brightly coloured suits, and the current secretary of state, Hillary Clinton in her tenure as first lady did popularise the trouser suit and (to Ms Spats' everlasting regret) the velvet hairband, but Mrs O was the first to mix high street with couture which makes her totally 21st century and very relatable. What's more, she is not afraid of wearing the same outfit twice -- the Michael Kors burgundy satin dress she wore on Tuesday night has been worn twice before and underlined her self assuredness in being able to choose what was obviously a favourite dress for her husband's big night. Subliminally, Ms Spats reckons, the whole "same again" motif seemed reassuring and a sensible option as opposed to the lunacy of getting in a new candidate who represents part of the Tea Party Movement. Even if his wife does favour classic Oscar De La Renta.
Diplomatic gaffes have been caused by women not wearing the correct designer labels whilst meeting foreign dignitaries. It is considered the height of rudeness, and perhaps even a declaration of war, if a political woman wears a designer whose nationality conflicts with the country being visited. Ms Spats would suggest that the politics of style needs to be recognised as a crucial element in running for office, and especially in determining what decided this race. Really. By way of illustration, she would like to draw your attention to how the candidates' wives and their success in the style wars eerily reflected their husbands' performances in the presidential debates.
Michelle wore Preen, in a democratic vibrant blue, but was a rather conservative choice and ran a poor second to Anne Romney's sophisticated white suit designed by Alfred Fiandaca. Ms Romney scored fashion points with its sporty touches and ever so slight suggestion of peplum flare. She looked fresh compared to Mrs O's rather uninspired look. And lo and behold, POTUS was trounced in this debate on the all important domestic issues.
Ms Spats applauds Mrs R for the bold choice of pink dress and statement necklace, but FLOTUS gets the fashion crown for matching and surpassing with bolero jacket featuring a rather Elvis like collar from Michael Kors. Elvis has NOT left the building. Obama took strength and won round two.
FLOTUS chose a custom grey Thom Browne dress with a high, belted waist, full skirt, and black lace overlay — a repeat from the Democratic National Convention where she was Queen Bee, funked up with a brooch and black belt. It said "I know my currency and can recycle a frock to no mean effect. You want me by the side of a man who is trying to avert the country falling off the fiscal cliff. At least we can bail in style."
Romney wore an Oscar de la Renta frock with an ombré skirt featuring a leaf pattern.Very pretty, but it looks like the dye from the skirt ran in upside down manner. Bit sloppy. It translated through: POTUS ran rings round her husband in this debate.
Ms Spats thinks America took note and voted accordingly and what's more the fashion could have something to do with the huge turnout in terms of registered voters. One can be proud of taking part in something that looks fabulous. This could be a reason why we Irish are considerably apathetic when it comes to exercising our constitutional rights. It would be more encouraging if we had someone who looked like a leader as opposed to the Elnett using, suspiciously blonded Enda Kenny who looks so much like a maths teacher who moonlights as a light tenor in Gilbert & Sullivan neighbourhood productions, that any hope of bringing a level of cool to the Irish political system seems totally spurious.
Isn't Obama originally from County Offaly?