Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January 11th, 2009

What can we learn about a politician from the clothes they wear?

How can we project a political message with the clothes we wear?

These are some questions that I will be exploring in this series, “The Fashion of Politics.” This series is designed for everyone to enjoy. It will cover: men’s political fashion; women’s political fashion; third party and independent candidates; greens and Green Party candidates; political buttons and other political accessories; and fashion-politics current events, such as guessing what Michelle Obama will wear to the Inauguration Balls. Every two or three days, there will be a new post covering topics such as: “When to wear (and when not to wear) a political button”; “What should grassroots candidates wear?”; “Can real greens wear a suit?”. Illustrations will be culled from historical examples, as well as my personal collection of activism and grassroots political experience in the Green Party. I never realized how many pictures I had of greens around the country trying to look friendly and/or professional in order to win over voters.

USA 2002

Citizen Candidates: USA 2002

As a candidate myself, and as a campaign manager for many candidates, I have thought a lot about how candidates should dress. Though, even for non-candidates, fashion can express a lot about who we are and what we believe in. A statement could be as bold and obvious as a t-shirt with a political message. Or, it could be as subtle as wearing hemp jeans, or choosing a tie that is “only blue”, instead of red. I will be sharing strategies and images of people trying to project political message through fashion. I will also present some discussions and controversies I have encountered in my many years navigating the world of fashion, politics and political campaigns.

Fashion of Rulers

Fashion of Rulers

My recent focus on fashion and politics is the result of my study of Amanda Foreman’s book (and the movie based on it) “Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.” Georgiana’s life might have turned out to be simply a contest of beauty and aesthetics with her friends of London’s aristocratic social circle, nicknamed “the Ton”. Though, Georgiana managed to blend her love for fashion and her flair for gaining attention with her desire to support the politicians and political ideas that became one of the missions of her life. Georgiana understood the power of art (more…)

Read Full Post »

Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

As a devoted fan of the real Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and as someone who enjoyed the movie “The Duchess” very much, I have definite opinions on all of the characters, and on the portrayals in the movie.

I decided that I am still a little frustrated that Ralph Fiennes portrayed William, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, in such a sympathetic light. Though, in thinking about it, at least Fiennes showed the flaws in the Duke’s character, and did not do what would have been tragic – make the Duke seem charming or especially sexually appealing, after all the Duke’s womanizing and emotional abuse of his wife.

It is also disappointing that the portrayal of the Duke is up for so many awards, when it is Georgiana who should have been (and was in some measure)¬† “a light burning at the center of the film”, as commentary on the DVD edition notes. Perhaps because I had read the book by Amanda Foreman, I still saw Georgiana’s light as the center of the film. Indeed, the story would probably have not been told if it were not for her flair, her fame and her fashion sense. And, contrary to some critics, I believe that Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Georgiana was wonderful. Knightley was able to portray the character and emotions in the range of an innocent young bride of 17-years-old, to an aristocratic woman having a passionate affair, to a mother and wife who has come to terms with her place in life. (more…)

Read Full Post »