The Campaign Catwalk
The Republican Convention in Cleveland officially launched the US campaign catwalk.
Expectations on the quality and attractiveness of the spouses and women leader outfits run high and will set the tone for the remainder of the campaign that should end with the selection of the next US president. This year the cat walk has been overshadowed by the hot debate about Melania Trump’s plagiarism of a convention speech by Michelle Obama. But even in the midst of the rancorous finger pointing and scape goat finding ensuing Melania’s political debut, the general public of the United States has celebrated her choice of outfit.
First, it was white as opposed to red or blue that have so far been the preponderant colors in convention dresses. Second, it shaped her wonderful figure making Ms Trump look like a goddess in the middle of a terrestrial audience where most women were hiding their femininity. Interestingly enough Mrs Clinton showed up at a rally staged the day after Ms Trump’s appearance with an ice blue dress that was quite close to white. And the ensemble made her blue eyes look shiner. Perhaps after so much internecine fight in both parties white will be adopted as a sign that conventions are the locus of internal peace.
Ms Trump’s initiation in politics also planted yet another seed in what will soon become the bush of electoral aesthetics: alternative designers. That night the privileged creator was Roksanda Ilincic, a Serbian born designer with residence in London whose clothes have recently become the it outfit for celebrities such as the Duchess of Cambridge. Hillary on the other side of the political divide has preferred Calvin Klein and Nina McLemore reigning sovereigns of pantsuits. But Hillary has taken a step ahead of all candidates.
She has made fashion land part of her campaign by means of asking Marc Jacobs; Tory Burch; Michael Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow to design T-shirts that will be used as fund raising vehicles. The three models are truly outstanding in personality and ritzy chic. One reminds us of the Warhol photographs of Marilyn and Elizabeth Taylor. Another simply attracts for its rainbow colors and illuminating motto: Women Rights are Human rights. The third is a suave creation in black and white asking voters to: Make Herstory. Experts estimate that these three t-shirts could bring in as much as $22M.
This brings us to the most interesting part of the campaign: clothing expenditures. The outfitting costs of a presidential campaign have been estimated to be between $ 10,000 and $ 5M depending on the candidate and the number of family members that participate in the effort. The lower figure would apply to a candidate like Bernie Sanders.
The higher figure to a candidate like Donald Trump. But the most important impact of the campaign catwalk is seen on the millions of copies of convention outfits and inaugural ceremonies dresses that will fill the stores everywhere in the world. Michelle Obama’s inaugural dress by Isabel Toledo in 2009, for instance, elicited 10 different versions that sold for $15M worldwide. It is estimated that Melania’s angelical costume will at least produce $ 50 in copies.