Photo: MediaPunch Inc/REX USA.
Politicians aren't usually card-carrying members of the Fashion Pack, and for good reason. A pol's image is carefully crafted to convey a sense of self-possession and professionalism, with nary a trace of the frivolity or over-indulgence often associated with being a clotheshorse. (Don't believe us? Think back to the fury over Sarah Palin's $150,000 RNC-funded wardrobe back in 2008.)
But, these days, an interest in fashion — even a tangential one — can actually be a major boon to a candidate's campaign. Just look at Anna Wintour and President Obama: In 2012, Wintour came in fourth place among the prez's biggest "bundlers" (people who solicit donations from their friends and associates), raising more than $5 million for the Obama campaign. And, obviously, Michelle Obama has been making sartorial statements since she arrived at the White House in 2008 — namely, supporting emerging designers and proving that a first lady can be smart and interested in fashion.
Through that lens, Wednesday's inauguration of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio was a significant — and stylish — one. During the swearing-in ceremony, the new mayor's wife and daughter, Chirlane McCray and Chiara de Blasio, proudly sported outfits by Nanette Lepore. The New York-based designer is a de Blasio ally and vocal supporter of the Garment District and American manufacturing. If you're thinking the de Blasio ladies have pulled a straight-up Michelle Obama move, you're right. After all, New York is a fashion capital, and the beleaguered Garment District has been a hot political topic in recent years. So, by choosing outfits that are chic yet approachable and made right in NYC, the pair presented themselves as everywomen who are in touch with the times, the trends, and their city's unique needs.
According to Fashionista, Lepore invited the de Blasio family to her NYC design studio over a year ago, where they discussed the importance of the Garment District to the city's economy. “The de Blasio family embodies the unique individualism of New York that compelled me to be part of the action when I moved here in the ’80s,” Lepore told Fashionista. “They will usher in a new age that truly understands the specialness of our incredible city.”
McCray returned the love in a statement: “Chiara and I are proud to wear this beautiful clothing today, that was made right here in New York City. This city needs more creative entrepreneurs like Nanette Lepore who are committed to keeping our city’s garment industry thriving.”
It's a step beyond the techniques perfected by MObama and Kate Middleton, in which they don an under-the-radar designer and leave it up to Internet-savvy style stalkers to proclaim Jason Wu and Issa. But, for the sake of Garment District designers and the future of made-in-America fashion, we think this outright display of sartorial love is totally appropriate — not to mention, absolutely gorgeous.