Stop it! Stop asking me about Hillary’s pantsuits, or any other aspect of her personal style! If you persist, I swear to God I will stuff Mrs. Clinton into a Balenciaga bubble dress with matching gladiator spike-heeled boots, and then you’ll be sorry.
Every 20 minutes I get a jangling call from an earnest hack looking for quips about the fashion choices of the presidential candidates. These content generators are hell-bent on viewing the current political jousting match through the lens of la mode: What do I think of Hillary’s pink blouses? Is Cindy McCain hitting the mark with her fashion choices? How about that tie Barack wore last night? Oy vey! Talk about looking for love in all the wrong places.
“Fashion and politics do not mix,” I reply in a terse-but-caring Diane Sawyer-ish way. “I like my politicians frumpy and frowzy. I have no desire to see Hillary in a Cavalli leopard-print unitard with tangerine crocodile thigh-boots. A presidential candidate must always dress so as to be unremarkable. In this regard, the candidates and their spouses are doing a great job. They are all unremarkable. I have, therefore, no remarks. Goodbye!”
“Not so fast!” reply the hacks, invariably. “What about Jackie Kennedy?” Then they blather on about how great it would be to go back to Camelot, blah, blah, blah, with a stylish couple in the White House, etc.
O.K., let’s address this issue once and for all: Jackie was fascinating, but she was hardly what you would call a fashion provocateur. Glam and elegant in a socialitey way, oui! But fashionable? Barely. Jackie’s style was appropriate but prissy: Barbie goes to Washington, if you know what I mean, and I don’t care if you don’t. It was not Jackie’s drag, but rather Jackie herself—poised, breathy, slightly blank, attenuated, haunted and, above all, relentlessly skinny—who was so remarkable, not her suits and shift dresses. Given half a chance, I would happily make a few remarks about her right now, but we have to get back to the issue at hand.
My uncooperative position on this matter is usually met with gasps of disbelief: “How can you, the creative director of Barneys, not wish to see a fashionable gal in the White House?” The answer is quite simple: Because I’m not retarded, that’s why. History has shown us that if leaders start primping and vamping, then we better watch out: A stylish leader is invariably a despotic leader. Glam head of state = miserable, drab, oppressed population. Drab head of state = flossy-flossy, happy population. Not convinced? Do the words Caligula, Imelda Marcos, Bokassa, Evita Peron and, yes, Adolf Hitler mean anything to you?
When I was a kid, all the politicians had crooked brown teeth and food-stained garments, and so did their wives, and everybody applauded their self-denying drabness. They were dreary and gray so that the rest of us, myself in particular, might pursue a course that was shimmering, superficial and fabulous. While they carried the weight of public office on their dandruff-dusted shoulders, I was free to indulge in silks and satins. Public servants, politicians or whatever the hell you want to call them are duty-bound to dress with unremarkable restraint, so that the rest of us, myself in particular, might become ever more remarkable. To this day people often make remarks about my outfits. If they don’t, I rush back home and adjust my appearance into a more remarkable configuration.
Honesty compels me to admit that, in the last few days, I have started to have second thoughts. The unrelenting tedium of the current Democratic tournament—if they keep it up, Grandpa McCain is bound to get elected, and then you really will be sorry—is causing me to rethink my position. Maybe those fashion-obsessed journalists are on to something. Maybe it would perk things up a bit to add a little stylish sizzle into the mix. It certainly could not make the catfights any more annoying than they already are. Maybe I should rush to Washington with a U-Haul stuffed with this season’s high-fashion drag and start Rachel Zoe-ing those unremarkable frumpsters.
For Hillary: when she’s not working the Balenciaga, she could go all Japanese avant-garde with a little Comme Des Garçons.
For Barack: The Clockwork Orange-inspired fall collection from Jean Paul Gaultier seems appropriate for the current brawl.
For Ms. Obama: the excesses of John Galliano’s Dior collection—especially that crazy Pat McGrath maquillage—would certainly put Ms. McCain on her guard.
For Mr. McCain: a little foppish Lanvin could soften his image and solidify those histrionic Gay Republicans. What about Bill? What could he possibly wear to complement his high-fashion co-conspirator? I’ve got it! And it’s American-made, too! Yes, I’m talking Thom Browne. The spank-me-I’ve-been-naughty perversity of Mr. Browne’s fall collection seems more than apropos.
Who am I going to vote for? I’ll give you a clue: Her legs look terrible in gladiator sandals.