What Hillary Clinton's Penchant For Ralph Lauren Pantsuits Means For The Brand

Photo: Harnik/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
The focus of this election cycle has, of course, been on presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump espousing their views and making promises about how they would tackle various political and societal issues. But the fashion choices Clinton has made on the campaign trail, and, specifically, for each debate, have also been laden with meaning. For all three debates, Clinton opted for Ralph Lauren looks, donning red, blue, and white pantsuits, respectively — a move we're thinking was far from an accident or coincidence.

For insight, we spoke to David Lauren, vice chairman and chief innovation officer at Ralph Lauren and the all-American designer's middle child. We were at WSJ magazine's sixth annual Innovator Awards at the MoMA, where his wife, Lauren Bush Lauren, was presenting an award to Melinda Gates for her philanthropic work. (Other honorees included The Weeknd, Tom Ford, Ai Weiwei, and Eleven Madison Park's Daniel Humm and Will Guidara.) Ahead, David Lauren fills us in on the significance of HRC's fervently discussed style decisions, during her tenacious pursuit of presidency, for his father's iconic design empire.

Ralph Lauren has been a huge part of Hillary Clinton’s campaign wardrobe. What has it meant for the house to have her wear Ralph Lauren for all three debates?

"We feel very lucky. Hillary has great style, and we’ve dressed a lot of important and interesting people over the last 50 years. The fact that she selected Ralph Lauren has made us really proud."

Why do you think she chose your father’s namesake label over other iconic American names in fashion for these pivotal campaign events?
"She’s worn Ralph Lauren a lot over the last 20 years, so we have a nice relationship with her. We have a lot of respect for what she does, and I think she’s followed and understood what Ralph Lauren does and what he creates. She connects with that."

What was the reaction like at company HQ when the team found out that Hillary had opted for Ralph Lauren?
"It felt great! In every industry, there are people who wear clothing in an amazing way. So, whether it’s a movie star or a politician, each person brings clothing to life uniquely. Hillary has a distinctive personality and identity; it’s just another way of seeing Ralph Lauren clothing."

Any stories from the trenches about the design process? Or insights about why she opted for red, white, and blue pantsuits for the debates?

"You know, it’s a private experience we do with her. We respect that, and we keep it discreet. We’re just very proud."

Would you like to see Hillary deviate from her rotation of pantsuits?
"She has a lot of choices and a lot of ideas, and at the right moment and the right time, she’ll do it. But I think she looks great."

Do you have any intel on what Hillary will be wearing on election night?
"I don’t!"

Have you seen any impact on sales — of pantsuits or just in general — because of Hillary’s debate outfits?
"I’d have to check that one out and let you know. It’s hard to know, though, because we make so many different lines."

If Hillary does win, what would be different or impactful about a female president’s style choices, versus how first lady fashion has been chronicled?
"She’s a perfect example of where style and substance come together, and I think it’s very inspiring for women. She’ll bring her own identity and give people a new way to look at fashion and, most importantly, to look at politics and the issues in the world."
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