September 22, 2016

WaPo's Robin Givhan asserts that Hillary Clinton — and the idea of the "handsome woman" — was the inspiration for the designers at Fashion Week.

I've followed Givhan's writing over the years, but I'd missed this September 16th piece — "Hillary Clinton, style icon? The unexpected inspiration for women’s spring fashion" — because the pay wall at The Washington Post has put it out of my line of sight. (I'd subscribe to read it if links to it would give you nonsubscribers access, which is how the NYT works.)

But I'm noticing Givhan's article now because I see Emily Zanotti at Heatstreet making fun of it: "Let Hillary Clinton, ‘Style Icon,’ Inspire Your Spring/Summer 2017 Look.:

Of all the liberal press straining to boost our love and respect for Hillary, Givhan's Hillary-the-style-icon piece strikes me as the most ludicrous. To be fair, the headline exaggerates the importance of Hillary Clinton in Givhan's essay. It begins with one designer's claim that he was inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe, whom Givhan calls "the artist who was so often described as 'handsome,' a polite way of saying that she was not a great beauty."*

You have to scroll way down to get to the first mention of Hillary Clinton, and even there, she's mixed in a crowd:
But beyond cut and color, designers are obsessing about strong and powerful women who are independent and enduring — perhaps even a bit scandalous. There has been talk of O’Keeffe, Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem, influential mothers and grandmothers — and of course, Hillary Clinton.
Givhan jumps to assure us that Hillary belongs in this explanation of the new fashions:
The Democratic presidential nominee is, by no means, the typical fashion icon, not in the manner of an actress, a musician or even First Lady Michelle Obama. But it is hard to deny her influence, whether direct or indirect — on so many designers....
Why is it hard to deny?! Hillary's fashions have been horrifying. I should think designers would reflexively deny her influence and that it would be hard to admit it.  Givhan's argument for influence is that people in the fashion industry politically support Clinton. Since when is political support for a candidate any kind of statement of enthusiasm about their clothes? Yes, the idea of a first woman President excites some people but to translate that to interest in what she's wearing smacks more of sexism than feminism. Either the designers were inspired by Hillary Clinton's awful outfits or they were not.

Givhan offers not one statement from any designer suggesting actual inspiration by Hillary Clinton. She claims, vaguely and abstractly, that "Clinton’s proximity to the presidency has invited designers to reconsider the relationship that women have to power and how it manifests in attire and style." Here's an example of one of the styles Givhan is talking about:



I must say that I could picture that jacket — just the jacket — on Hillary. But could that possibly be the impression the designer — Marc Jacobs — wanted to convey? Well... maybe! Who has the money to buy these clothes? Not the kookie child the whole getup expresses, but some lady who would see that she could wear just the jacket. And maybe for that lady, thinking about Hillary Clinton would help her decide that it makes sense to spent the money on something so odd: It is what powerful, serious women wear. Maybe Marc Jacobs is very savvy about the workings of the minds of rich older women.
_____________________

* Here's my post from September 6, 2016, "Nobody says 'handsome woman' anymore." I spoke too soon. Or Givhan reads my blog and took up the challenge.

44 comments:

tim in vermont said...

Since when is political support for a candidate any kind of statement of enthusiasm about their clothes?

Nothing is outside of liberal politics for the kind of people who write for the WaPo. That's how they get their jobs, that's how they keep them. Unfortunately, these same people are the lens through which most of us see the wider world outside our own experience.

Brando said...

I really don't understand Hillary's outfit choices this election cycle. They're a strange mix of gaudy, blocky and otherworldly. What's odd about it is her team focus groups everything, so this must be intentional and yet I can't imagine what they're trying to convey.

Stick with the old pantsuits.

tim in vermont said...

I can't imagine what they're trying to convey.

Look at her foreign policy, she is running for emperor.

rhhardin said...

But beyond cut and color, designers are obsessing about strong and powerful women who are independent and enduring

I can't think of any.

There was Bella Abzug for hats.

rhhardin said...

How about Ann Coulter? She was called a cunt at some roast the other day and took it like a man.

I don't know what she was wearing. She does tend to favor the Princess Di racoon eyeshadow look.

rhhardin said...

Powerful and enduring men would include Gauss, Liebniz, Newton, Einstein, all without any fashion legacy.

rhhardin said...

Toom Tabard left a fashion statement.

holdfast said...

I am going to offer a partial, qualified defense of HRC's fashion: yes, Kevlar does tend to make people look fat, and it's worse for those with female-shaped bodies. I have quite a few friends who are cops, and putting on a vest, even the light kind worn under a shirt on regular patrol, takes a woman's look from "average" to "chunky".

I think it's safe to assume that the Secreet Service has her wearing Kevlar for at least some of her appearances.

MayBee said...

Why do leftists love the cult of personality so very much?

rhhardin said...

My legacy would be 5" inseam trail shorts. I just have to work on powerful and enduring.

MayBee said...

At least if Trump is elected we will get to hear about how gauche and unfashionable our new first lady is.
We'll hear about how tacky their big state dinners are.
It will be good for us, overall.

David said...

Thank God a man did not write this post.

rhhardin said...

Trump will build an entirely new White House on the site.

rehajm said...

That is a white girl with dreadlocks- what does Givhan say about that?

rehajm said...

Time called Mao one of the top 10 worst dressed leaders. Why would Hillary copy?

Rae said...

Be a trendsetter Hillary. Wear assless chaps and a bowler to the debates.

gspencer said...

Big Maw and dressing like Captain Kangaroo do not a beauty make.

Mike said...

Nobody goes full empresses' new clothes, Robin. You never go full empresses' new clothes!

David Begley said...

AA wrote, "Hillary's fashions have been horrifying."

Another reason not to vote for Hillary. Can you imagine four years of her clothes and that voice screeching at you?

Brando said...

"Look at her foreign policy, she is running for emperor."

Yes, emperor of a particularly tacky empire.

My wife has a book of "dictator décor"--photos of the palace interiors of various dictators of the 20th century. Mussolini had the best taste (mostly classical, 19th century looking furnishings) but once you got into the African dictators it was tacky and gaudy as hell. They just don't teach taste in Kinshasa.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I give Hillary credit. Not many women in her position would be willing to experiment with the Mao/Ming the Merciless lovechild look.

AllenS said...

Jeez, I hate to give Hillary any help, but she could always use the excuse for her passing out, having to need help up stairs, and that constant "I'm tired look", as simply the effect of wearing bullet proof stuff under the Mao jackets, because TRUMP AND THE DEPLORABLES WANT TO KILL ME!

Michael McClain said...

Soooo, wearing an outfit that looks like a huge oven mitt makes you a fashion icon?

Interesting concept.

Mike said...

What's worse? The way she SOUNDS, the way she DRESSES or the content of her character?

Titus said...

I watched every collection online and none of them reminded me of Hil.

Marc Jacobs did get bitched at though because of the model's dreads. I guess there was only like 1 or 2 black models and dreads are supposedly only for black people.

My favorite at the fall shows was Tory Burch's collection. I was shocked. I am normally all Tom Ford and Prada, but Tory Burch's collection was so Americana and colorful.

Michael Kors was my second fave collection this season.

Comanche Voter said...

I dunno; after some of Hillary's recent fashion choices, there's been a run on burlap fertilizer bags. So she's inspiring something.

mccullough said...

Georgia O'Keefe was rawboned, not handsome.

Darrell said...

When Bella Hadid fell down, it reminded me of Hillary. Only pretty.

glenn said...

Sophia Loren is an Icon. Hillary Clinton is a two bit hustler.

Michael K said...

I'd subscribe to read it if links to it would give you nonsubscribers access, which is how the NYT works.)

It doesn't work that way. I wish you would warn us as my "nine articles this month" are already used up by clicking on your links and I don;t click on half of them,

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, I have a question for you. How does Robin Givens manage to type on her keyboard when her head is that far up her butt?

mikee said...

Bullet resistant clothing is more difficult to make stylish for women than for men.

Obama looks a bit heftier in a bulletproof windbreaker or suit jacket, or when wearing a protective vest under his shirt, but Hillary looks like a Sumo wrestler in her padded-for-protection clothes.

And if everyone loves Hillary as much as Bill does, wearing bulletproof clothing is a must for Hillary.

Christy said...

Totally pandering column by Givans. Nancy Pelosi, spit, nails the look of a powerful woman. Clinton isn't even in the same league, as either a fashion or political leader.

grimson said...

One of the few times when Hillary's bizarre fashion sense was mocked, as well when she was given a few other legitimate digs.

And I love your suit. It looks like you were just elected to the galactic council.

(But Kate McKinnon looks better than Clinton ever could. They really need to switch to car coats, fully fastened, for these...and do more to make her look Hillary's age.)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I haven't read the article; would a search of the word Thatcher return any results?

Anyway the Media is garbage.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Between Trump & Clinton I don't think this is shaping up to be a very fashionable time, ya know?

SukieTawdry said...

I've followed Givhan's writing over the years...

For laughs?

mockturtle said...

Totally pandering column by Givans. Nancy Pelosi, spit, nails the look of a powerful woman. Clinton isn't even in the same league, as either a fashion or political leader.

Pelosi is as dumb as a box of rocks but she does dress well, I will concur.

mockturtle said...

And that jacket, while exotic and charming on the tiny model, would make Hillary look YUUUGE!

Eclectic Kelvin said...

My wife and i are moving out of California this next week and we have a butt ugly floor mat that is big enough to make Hillary a new suit. We were going to throw it out but it looks better than what she has shown up in public in. It could improve her chances.

mockturtle said...

My wife and i are moving out of California this next week

Congrats!

Bad Lieutenant said...

mockturtle said...
And that jacket, while exotic and charming on the tiny model, would make Hillary look YUUUGE!
9/22/16, 10:18 PM


Mockturtle, she IS huge.

mockturtle said...

Mockturtle, she IS huge.

Yes, she is huge. But the jacket would make her look YUUUGE.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Touché, madame!