The stylistic genius Oscar Wilde once said, “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.” The intent of those words echoed in the champagne infused air at Obama’s re-election campaign runway show on Tuesday night, as fashion icons and lovers rallied in support of one of history’s most stylish presidents. Hosted by Vogue’s Editor in Chief Anna Wintour and starlet Scarlett Johansson, the show featured original, Obama inspired designs by some of the fashion industry’s biggest names including Marc Jacobs, Sean John and Derek Lam.
While the crowd of designers was crème de la crème, their designs were very lay-man’s basic. T-shirts, canvas bags, nail polish sets and everyday scarves attempted to light up the runway, but instead bull-horned the message: Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers. The designs screamed average American, an apparent attempt to connect to the non fashion-savvy--albeit voting--masses.
White after Labor Day has nothing on this gawky fleet of clothes. The majority of the lack-luster designs look more like Saturday-errand-lounge-wear appropriate only to clean your toilet, than attire to inspire patriotic confidence. What is more frustrating is how this event managed to blur political party stereotypes in one quick runway swoop. Republicans are traditionally supposed to lack style. Dapper Duds are what give Democrats the ultimate edge.
FASHION DESIGNERS GETTING IN ON OBAMA SUPPORT
Beyonce and Tina Knowles came up with by far the ugliest design, which looked more like a children’s autographed Summer Camp Tee than the creation of a fashion power-house. The only thing more heinous than the tacky design of these clothes were the price tags on them. Ranging from $45 dollars to $95, these China-factory made designs are looting the Democratic public of money that could be spent on something far more stylistically meaningful: a trash bag hat, a fanny-pack, or perhaps the tried-and-true socks with sandals.
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All fashion-bashing aside, Wilde’s words echo a certain glorious superficial truth. In a world seething with fatal disappointments—economic crashes, environmental catastrophes—there is great value in a leader who can aesthetically pull himself together. Often, the test of time makes legends not based on historic legislation passed. Instead, the bold fabric of history is imbued with the iconic images of appropriately worn sunglasses. Think Jackie-O in Chanel, or Bill Clinton and his Saxophone.
So if the evening did nothing more, it allowed us to reflect on all the stylish wardrobe choices Obama has made over the past four years. But for all the fashionista Obama lovers out there, do yourself a favor, ditch the ‘Runway to Win’ collection, wear your signature Burberry and buy yourself a bumper sticker.