by Maighread Ferguson
2 September 2015
Photo courtesy of New York Magazine
Hillary Clinton has finally got religion in the one Denomination no one expected, least of all Hillary. Last Sunday, according to the Daily Mail, she joined the “Priestesses” of Fashion’s Who’s Who at a fundraiser luncheon for herself at the Hampton’s home of Tory Burch. Burch’s co-hosts were the probable “Devil wears Prada,” Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour and Donna Karan. Other top fashion Designer attendees included Stacy Bendet of “Alice and Olivia” and Jill Sanders. Chelsea, Charlotte and Chelsea’s husband also made an appearance before leaving early to feed the baby.
In spite of her 2008 snub of all things sartorial and the rejection of a Vogue Cover offer at the time, Hillary is quickly converting into a believer in the power of Dress for Success—at least its fundraising abilities. Wintour, Karan and Burch seemed happy to accomodate Hillary’s new found faith. Not unthinkable as she is the democratic female Front-Runner for the 2016 election. Barack Obama has already been there, done that during his successful campaign for President against Hillary seven years ago. Now it seems Hillary is taking a cue from Obama’s playbook and tapping into the power of 5th Avenue and trendy circles to boost her bankroll. She may finally be enough of a penitent neophyte to know she needs to reach out to cultural power brokers on this side of the business scene and ask for help. There are even rumors that she will finally do a Vogue cover.
If Hillary were back in high school and she were a classmate to Wintour, Karan and Burch, would she have set her food tray down at their table? Would she have spent more time with the “Artsy types” in college if she had known then the magnetic effect of fashion on money? Maybe, but Hillary’s college days were filled with legal research and writing briefs, not designing them. Neither did her post-Wellesley and Yale days in Community Organizations and Law Firms require any fashion-forwardness. It seems that Hillary was always more comfortable wearing basic business attire (with the exception of a few beautiful gowns at the White House) as she and Bill built their careers. Perhaps she wanted to be taken more seriously than the Sarah Palin’s of politics and so avoided any connection to high fashion at the risk of alienating those in the business.
But more recently, since the White House and during her State Department days, Hillary’s wardrobe did transform into a kind of livelier “fruit bowl” color scheme, (some in double knits no less) that made one nostalgic for the former business suits. Lime green, real orange, banana yellow and other hues brightened up her appearances and at the same time gave you a feeling of the dreaded “fashion don’t” horror. You couldn’t look away and maybe that was the goal. Fashion, good or bad, can be a political tool.
Note Bernie Sanders iconic Einsteinian hairdo and off-the-rack suits.
The Designer of many of her latest outfits, Nina McLemore, is a favorite among the high-powered political class of females, Hillary’s real classmates. Janet Yellen, Elena Kagan and Christine Todd Whitman are just a few of Ms. McLemore’s clients. The Wall Street Journal states that at least twenty-five percent of women on the Fortune 500 shop the Nina McLemore Label. This could be because Nina apparel is specifically designed to complement the figures of more “seasoned” moxie mavens and her prices tend to be moderate, respectively. Wealthy women are generally practical if not stylish.
Another recent outfit, made famous as Hillary wore it to the public presentation of her new granddaughter last Fall, looked like a nod to the PRC (People’s Republic of China) “party wear” or a middle-schooler’s best efforts in sewing class.
Image courtesy of Just Jared
Was this a promise kept to some youngster who obviously put a lot of effort into a gift or did someone in the new Grandmother’s circle advise her to dress this way as a kind of sabotage? Hillary’s camp equivalent of 9/11 being an inside job? If so, it wasn’t Bill.
When Hillary needed to boost her poll numbers during the 2008 election, it is rumored she came to her husband in an unusual mood of serious reflection asking his opinion on what to do. According to an unnamed radio host:
Months ago I heard a story going round (true or not) that Hillary asked Bill’s advice on how to improve her poll ratings and popularity, in general, for her bid to become President. “After all,” the reporter said, “Bill Clinton’s campaign advisors were the best of the best.” Bill’s reply to Hillary was instant and short, “Get rid of the Pantsuits and exercise.”
Obviously, Hillary ignored his advice. But this is not actually (between the lines) a story about Hillary’s clothes’ closet. Knowing, as the world can’t avoid it, that Hillary has been almost “anti-fashion,” neither wearing nor colluding, throughout her public career, the question to ask at this juncture of her game plan is–Why Fashion, why now? Because the combining of Hillary Clinton with the Fashion world is as obvious and unnatural an act as putting a donkey (only as a Democratic symbol) in the middle of a fancy royal ball. We cannot simply stand up watching the donkey bray in the middle of the dance floor, we must ask ourselves the eternal Why? Why is this donkey there?
This story is really about a bathroom closet, where Hillary’s private servers holding State’s Secrets were recently kept:
One [former Platte River Networks employee], Tera Dadiotis, called it ‘a mom and pop shop’ which was an excellent place to work, but hardly seemed likely to be used to secure state secrets. And Tom Welch, who helped found the company, confirmed the servers were in a bathroom closet.
Anyone watching the scandal of the classified emails found on Hillary’s private accounts and who listens to the candid Donald Trump as he lays her cards on the table on her behalf, she’s in trouble. Her bid for the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination seems to no longer be a done deal. The sharks, even in her own party and including Joe Biden, are circling the podium. The Clinton campaign has been scrambling to find willing lifeboats for a ride to the convention.
Then three days ago along came a Steamliner, The Anna Wintour, again. She pulled a more willing Hillary on board as the Presidential-hopeful seeks absolution through collusion with the Fashion Set, that may never come. Her new-found rapture could be short-lived if the Justice Department is able to make charges stick to the infamous teflon-coated Clinton skin. Anna and Friends just may not be able to rescuscitate Hillary from a political death that history will deem a suicide. Time will tell if they have the clout to resurrect and give new life to HRC as they baptize her public image (not her, necessarily) in Ralph Lauren and Valentino. Even Anna may not have that kind of power.