Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Hipster Hitler

Welcome to Hipster Hitler, the website that's mixed two awful things into one... it's wrong to say they're equally bad, it's wrong to say he looks better in fake Ray Bans than German khakis and it's wrong to want one of their Eastside - Westside - Genocide T-shirts. Heck, there's nothing right with Hitler... It's a tough job to come up with positive things to say about him, and why should you? Nevertheless, you have to laugh at this website; it's clearly so wrong it's right. Almost.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Sebastián Piñera - The Spin - AnOther Mag

The Spin | Sebastián Piñera
— November 2, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Everyone else jumped on the bandwagon so why shouldn’t The Spin be allowed? The Chilean mine crisis might be over but President Sebastián Piñera has just returned from a European tour, during which both the Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron were given rocks from the San Jose mine – so the 60-year-old millionaire is still very much in the worldwide spotlight. Piñera is groundbreaking in recent Chilean history since he is the first Conservative leader to be elected after the fall of military dictator Augusto Pinochet. 

This ideological fact made Piñera’s support and emotional welcome to the 33 miners even more heartfelt. After all, Chile's mining corps live and work on modest levels and standards. Meanwhile, the Harvard-educated professor in economy is one of Chile’s wealthiest people; his broad smile, year-round tan, silver grey hair and robust body frame might be a bit too close to the facial features of Robert Kilroy-Silk’s for his own good, but no one is perfect!

The heavy burden weighing on Piñera’s shoulder is how to re-brand Chile through losing the morbid associations of Pinochet and take the South American country head first into the 21st century. Of course, the happy ending to the “trapped miners” saga helped a great deal. “I hope that from now on when people around the world hear the word Chile, they will not remember the coup d'etat or the dictatorship, they will remember what we had done, all the Chileans together,” Piñera said. But it could have been different. 

On the day of Piñera’s inauguration in March 2010, Chile was the victim of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the centre of the country, killing over 500 people and making 1,000s homeless. After the quake came the tsunami warning… Nevertheless, Sebastián Piñera’s ratings are soaring; he is now one of the people! The mining crisis saw 33 hairy men in Oakley wraparound glasses go free and one man becoming the star, both in his home country and on the worldwide stage. Everyone's a winner…

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir - The Spin - AnOther Mag

The Spin | Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
— October 12, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

When Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir lost the Icelandic Social Demcocrat party’s leadership election in 1994 she famously said “Minn tími mun koma”, meaning “my time will come”. In January 2009 that went from being an empty threat to a prophecy, because that’s when Sigurðardóttir finally took command of both her party and country. As Iceland’s prime minister she not only became the island’s first female PM, but also the world’s only openly gay leader.

This social, political, sexual and cultural breakthrough, though, is of course not the only thing that Iceland is well known for these days, and the other fame factors are unfortunately not as positive. Only a year ago ill-managed Icelandic banks nearly caused irreparable financial damage in mainland Europe. And then there was that infernal ash cloud…

Crises aside, Iceland has many talented and aesthetically refined aspects to it as well. In terms of music, art and fashion, proportionally Iceland competes successfully with its stylish northern neighbours Scandinavia. And, as far as politicians go, Sigurðardóttir is doing her bit to help out. Her biggest asset is her silver white hair. When paired with a white coat, she looks like an ice princess. Add to that a bold and strong use of red lipstick and you’ll have a lady politician not afraid of standing out. A penchant for over sized necklaces and eye-catching glasses makes for a fairly full-on silhouette.

The former air hostess, with two children from her estranged husband, entered a civil union with author and playwright Jónína Leósdóttir in 2002. The partnership was then upgraded to a same sex marriage when that was legalised in Iceland earlier this year. The 67-year-old Prime Minister might not be on the forefront of a fashionable revolution – not many world leaders are – but it is safe to say that her election revolutionised a few other things, perhaps more important to mention than her choice of lipstick and ice-cold hair colour.

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Hu Jintao - The Spin - AnOther Mag

The Spin | Hu Jintao, Chinese General Secretary of the Communist Party
— September 28, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Any Chinese General Secretary of the Communist Party will always live, work and dress in the shadow of Mao Zedong. Let’s say it like it is. The current leader, Hu Jintao, is no exception. In power since 2002, Hu Jintao functions under different statesmanship rules compared to most other politicians; the Communist way of doing things is “slightly” less democratic than elsewhere, enabling Hu a higher degree of political freedom.

But Hu isn’t a one-man-party machine. As a member of the nine man strong Politburo Standing Committee, Hu shares ideas, ideology, power and responsibility with a handful of other high-fliers. Nevertheless, it is with Hu that the buck stops. Once considered a liberal softie, Hu has since showed his true side and is rumoured to have had a hand in the cruel and violent handling of the protesters on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Hu entered politics in 1964, at the height of Mao’s cultural revolution. If he was equally inspired by Mao’s characteristic clothing habits as his firm political beliefs he’s not showing that today. Chinese politicians stopped wearing the Zhongshan suit long ago, which was designed by Sun Yat-sen just after Mao’s takeover. Instead, Hu prefers a non-descript dark suit and anonymously coloured, often red, ties. Like most communist states, China favours a clothing pattern that prevents individuality: it’s about being one of the people, and that seems to go for the leadership as well, whether they wear khaki green uniforms or dull suits.

Say what you want about Mao, but there’s no denying both his political and sartorial impact. That’s never likely to be said of Hu, a man who allegedly counts table tennis and ballroom dancing as his hobbies. It is quite telling then, that one of the few of his recorded sayings is as dry as the man himself appears to be: “Success in life requires resolve, attention to concrete matters and courage in making decisions.”

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - The Spin - AnOther Mag

The Spin | Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the President of Brazil
— September 7, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: don’t you just want to snuggle him? And they call him Lula! Politicians aren’t meant to be cuddly, they’re supposed to look like Dick Cheney and have steely, unforgiving names like Helmut Kohl. No wonder Brazil has re-elected Da Silva twice as its president since he took power in 2002. Riding on the same wave of unquestioning goodwill as Chavez in Venezuela and the Kirchners in Argentina, Lula has even had his electability confirmed by POTUS Barack Obama, who famously pointed at him during the April 2009 G20 meeting in London and said, "That's my man right there – the most popular politician on earth."

I suppose Obama, too, was referring to the general cuteness and pleasantness of Lula’s facial features. He’s got kind eyes to start with, and a friendly smile. But it’s the silver-grey beard that ticks the last box. Doesn’t he remind you of your grandpa? Or is it just mine he looks like? It doesn’t matter who you think of, you just want to feed him Werther’s Orginals…

Like many of his leftwing comrades in South America (all hail Fidel Castro), Lula has been in for a fair amount of criticism. Throughout his presidency, corruption charges have been hurled at the government. During the 2005 Mensalão scandal, the attorney general pressed charges against 40 Brazilian politicians, but nothing was ever been pinned on Lula. His popularity has gained him – aside from Obama’s admiration and utterly ridiculous commentary – several awards, including the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. For some reason.

Unlike his fellow Socialists, Lula does not subscribe to the leftwing uniform of Chavez (red) and the Castro brothers (khaki). The tone is sombre, the suits dark. The only real colour that Lula allows himself is the yellow Brazilian football shirt he is sometimes seen waving. Finally, a politician who knows how to play his best asset in order to win the game…

Owain Thomas is a freelance illustrator who works in the area of illustrative journalism. He has been commissioned in The Guardian Newspaper as well as magazines and books such as Arc Magazine, Amelia's Magazine, Notes from the Underground, Indian journalists and Filament Publishers

Hamid Karzai - The Spin - AnOther Mag

The Spin | Hamid Karzai, Afghan President
— August 24, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Once labelled “the most chic man in the world” by Tom Ford, Afghan president Hamid Karzai has a lot to live up to. Since taking power shortly after the US-led invasion in 2001, Karzai has of course had many pressing matters to attend to that are more important than his early morning wardrobe decisions. But there’s no doubt that Mr Karzai is very effective at pursuing and entertaining an image of himself, something that – intentionally or not – is strong enough to grant him coverage in The New Statesman, as well as GQ magazine.

Anyone – politician or otherwise – who cultivates a trademark look is anxious to be associated with a certain aesthetic, and this – as we know – is more often than not a good thing in politics. In Karzai’s case it is, of course, his astrakhan hat that has gained him attention. Headwear in general is unusual on the political stage, bar Castro’s army cap and Boris Yeltsin’s giant Russian fur hats. But that makes his sartorial stance even stronger: the Karakul sheepskin hat – even though it’s probably a national staple piece – has gained him international admirers and fashion icon status, as Tom Ford’s statement proves.

Add to that Karzai’s silver-grey hair and beard, a subtle colour palette of stylish khakis and blue-grey tones, and a seemingly endless collection of Nehru-collar shirts. The latter and his general state of tie-lessness is a by-product of anti-western dress customs in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, but it provides an excellent platform to build and develop a forward-thinking and unique wardrobe befitting a statesman. The only downside to Hamid Karzai’s hat, and indirectly his whole look, is that the karakul wool comes from aborted lamb foetuses… The price we pay for fashion, eh!

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

The Spin - Fredrik Reinfeldt - AnOther Mag

The Spin | Fredrik Reinfeldt, The Swedish Prime Minister
— August 11, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Who is David Cameron’s political role model? Some might say Margaret Thatcher, or even Tony Blair. But the truth is that Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt is the actual architect of the neo-conservative governmental system Britain has today. Not following? Well, think about it. After years on the opposition bench under the rule of old school Conservative leaders, a new, fresh, vigorous and forward thinking leader is elected. He spends years changing the image of the party: in with the new, out with the old.

The government has been in power for ten years and people are tired of the same old faces. All of a sudden the once-hated and moderate party has become a positive force to reckoned with. Less right, more centre; less selfish, more considerate. All of a sudden there’s an alternative. An election approaches and the old and boring party is ahead in the polls. But an absolute majority is not reached, and a centre-right coalition is formed. Britain in 2010? Yes, but the same happened in Sweden over four years ago.

Fredrik Reinfeldt is an exact political copy of Cameron. Or, rather, it’s the other way around! Young, “cool” and energetic, Reinfeldt has reinvigorated Swedish politics. The first thing he did was appoint a Chancellor of the Exchequer with a ponytail and earring. Sure, there were a few unavoidable setbacks and mistakes have been made, but with a new election looming in September, Reinfeldt’s Moderate party (and its fellow coalition bedfellows) is currently set for another victory.

Encroaching baldness has led to Reinfeldt shaving his head. His looks are quite far from your traditional politician, and that’s partly why he was so successful in re-branding his dying party. Like Cameron, Reinfeldt doesn’t miss an opportunity to take off his jacket, loosen the tie and roll up the shirtsleeves: “I’m a man of the people, I’m just like you. And you. And you!” Yeah, right. But the fact remains: Reinfeldt isn’t just popular for his policies. A recent “best dressed” poll by Swedish men’s lifestyle magazine King put him ahead with 56% of the votes. It’s clear that individuality is high up on Reinfeld’s agenda: in an interview with newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Reinfeldt claimed that the fashion trend that he never wanted to se again was “party uniforms,” and that the politician he admired most, sartorially speaking, was the Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu Guest Designer at Lutz & Patmos

South African arch bishop Desmond Tutu recently bowed out of public life as one of Christianiaty's most recognisable humble servants. It appears he had another career path in mind when doing so. The 78-year-old priest has, believe it or not, teamed up with the luxury cashmere and knitwear label Lutz & Patmos as a guest designer. The result is a short sleeved scoop neck top with a detachable bead necklace, as seen below. In a time when everyone and everything has to have its own perfume and clothing line, I suppose it was only a question of time before this happened. God Help Us!

Friday, 30 July 2010

King Magazine determines Best Dressed Swedish Politician

Sorry guys, this is in Swedish so only a few of you will be able to enjoy this fairly insightful TV4 conversation about Swedish politicians and their dress sense. King, a Swedish fashion magazine, have polled the readers to find out who's the Best Dressed politician. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt was the clear winner. You be the judge...

Julia Gillard - The Spin - Another Mag.com

The Spin | Australian President, Julia Gillard

It’s an elite group, but to Argentina, Germany, Finland and the seven other countries that have female presidents or prime ministers, we can now add Australia. At the end of June, after predecessor Kevin Rudd stood down, 48-year-old Julia Gillard became the leader of the Labour party and took over the reins down under. But Gillard’s political honeymoon could be a short one: since she was elected to her post by the Aussie parliament, and not by the people, the PM has called an August election, opening the door for the opposition to take back power.

Whatever happens, this is a first for Australia. Even if the Welsh-born Gillard’s time in charge is short-lived, from an equality point of view, anything is better than nothing. Also, Gillard has acknowledged the uncertainty of her position and her unlikely road to it, claiming that she had a bigger chance to be recruited as an Australian rules football player than taking over after Rudd. Apparently she’s tougher than most thought!

Aesthetically, the only thing that’s more eye-catching than Gillard’s pinstriped suits and white Anne Fontaine shirts is her glowing red hair. Is her temperament as fierce, one wonders? But her sense of style hasn’t gone down all that well in Australia. The press has gone all out for the politician’s wardrobe. Her first week in office saw Gillard sport a patterned coat, which an anonymous local “fashion expert” likened to a “cheap motel bedspread.” Press reports have indicated that the new PM went on a shopping spree, buying 12 new suits, shortly after landing her new job. Maybe she should call up Angela Merkel to get some advice on power dressing, or talk to Hillary Clinton about brooches.

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Monday, 5 July 2010

Nicolas Sarkozy - The Spin - Another Mag

The Spin | Nicolas Sarkozy
— June 22, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni at Pittsburgh G20 Summit Courtesy of The White House, Photography by Pete Souza
“A world where there is an election every six months – I feel for you: horrible, horrible, horrible!” So French president Nicolas Sarkozy is reported to have told Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld after awarding him the Legion of Honour. And he’s spot on – in fashion, you’re only as good as your last collection. The same applies to Sarkozy and his political colleagues – if they don’t please the electorate, they’re out. But Sarkozy has done all right for himself since sweeping to power in 2007.

More than anything, of course, he’s sorted himself out with a proper French beauty. Carla Bruni, ex-girlfriend of Mick Jagger, is not only a successful recording artist but also a former model. And fashion icon, too – no one pulls off deep purple quite like her. Sarkozy himself also looks pretty smart, but then again he lives in the unofficial fashion capital of the world, Paris.

The president’s most striking physical feature – or lack of it, perhaps – is his height. Sarkozy is reported to be only 5ft 5in tall, preferring shoes with a slight heel. And, allegedly, Bruni must wear flat shoes when seen in his company. A recent example of Sarkozy’s sensitivity on this issue was made public when he was photographed standing on a box behind a speaking pulpit, just after taking over from the tall US president, Barack Obama.

But Sarkozy’s status as a style icon is somewhat undecided. In the past he has been voted both one of the “best dressed” in Vanity Fair and placed at the bottom of a similar list by GQ magazine. Bruni, on the other hand, is of course universally lauded for her sense of style, and is only matched on the worldwide political (spouse) stage by Michelle Obama. Mind you, of the two associated gents Sarkozy is the more stylish, his 2007 inauguration suit rumoured to have been Prada. But you can own as many fancy suits as you like, Nicolas – you’re merely stealing Kim Jong-il’s look when you wear those platform shoes…

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Vladimir Putin - The Spin - Another Mag

The Spin | Vlad's Castle
— June 8, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his column The Spin

Vladimir Putin in combat Courtesy of The Kremlin
Vladimir, oh Vladimir, where have you been for the last few years? What was that? You had to resign as president of Russia and become the country’s prime minister because your time at the top was up, but you will return to the top job as soon as you are constitutionally allowed? Oh OK, good – things haven’t been the same without you.

In 2008, after having been twice elected as president, Putin stood down and became PM. Ever since, his critics have claimed Putin only supported Dmitry Medvedev’s presidential candidacy so that he could control and manipulate him, and it’s true that Medvedev hasn’t been as strong and popular as Putin. But succeeding Putin cannot be an easy task; the man has charisma and a well-trained torso.

Putin isn’t really famous for what he’s wearing, more what his wardrobe leaves out. Often that’s a top or a shirt. He seems to have affection for outdoors activities – hiking, hunting, riding, etc – where he can pose topless with wraparound sunglasses and army fatigue trousers. His predilection for military accessories probably comes from a long and successful career within the Soviet secret police, the KGB.

Another interesting detail in the curious case of Vladimir Putin is his fondness for martial arts. When he looks at you with the dark eyes of a communist spy and says, “I can kill you with my bare hands,” remember this: he isn’t kidding. A 6th dan in Judo, Putin would kick Obama’s skinny ass in a minute or two.

Because of Putin’s affiliation with the army and KGB, it’s considered OK for him to don uniforms and pose in fighter plane cockpits (flying a MiG jet is probably just like another hobby to him, next to bear hunting and torture…) – unlike George W Bush who never did military service and just looked like a twerp when he wore a flying jacket.

There’s no doubt Putin is here to stay; he will surely try to run for the presidency again, or maybe just puppeteer Medvedev into doing it Putin-style. His leadership has of course attracted positive, as well as negative, feedback. Former president Mikhail Gorbachev, for example, has credited Putin with saving Russia from chaos, and Time magazine crowned him Man of the Year in 2007. But, as one of his critics pointed out, that esteemed publication gave Hitler the same title in 1938…

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Fashion Icon: Yukio Hatoyama

A while back I did a piece on the ANC sanctioned leather jackets that the South African party was selling, and now the turn has come to Japan's Prime Minister and his shirt. The difference is that it isn't Yukio Hatoyama who is flogging his own wardrobe. No, it's the Shanghai based shirt company ShirtsMyWay.com that's manufacturing the check and multi coloured piece, which is yours for a mere $500. You'll find it under the sub heading of 'Prime Minister of Japan & Fashion Hero' on the website. Funnily enough, this seems to be Japanese political fashion week as the Spin post shows below! A Guardian piece quote the designer Don Konishi saying, "Is anyone able to stop him wearing such a thing?" - which I think makes the shirt even more loveable...

Yukio Hatoyama - The Spin - Another Mag

The Spin | Yukio Hatoyama
— May 25, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his fortnightly column The Spin

Today, the topic of discussion is Japan’s Prime Minister – known to many as old, you know, whatshisname. But while Yukio Hatoyama might not be the most prolific statesmen on the scene just yet, to his credit he’s only been in power since September last year. Hatoyama-san represents the Democratic Party of Japan, which is a great name since it kind of infers that the opposition is not democratic, but totalitarian, fascist or another unpleasant form of government.

Japan is a funny one. While far from geographically massive, it is a heavyweight member of the almighty G8 and as such helps set the agenda for the rest of the world. Since World War II the country has become synonymous with major car and electronic industries, but it is also a major fashion exporter. Imagine if all world leaders had to wear clothes from national designer treasures: Cameron in Gieves & Hawkes, Obama in Ralph Lauren, Sarkozy in Dior and Berlusconi decked out in Armani. That’s all fine but Hatoyama could be rocking Junya Watanabe brogues, wrinkly Issey Miyake cords and a light blue Comme des Garçons Homme Plus shirt under his khaki Yamamoto jacket with Nehru collar…

That, alas, is not his outfit of choice. Hatoyama is very traditional, and not even in an exciting Japanese way. His wife, however, is far from boring. A former actress, these days Miyuki Hatoyama categorises herself as a “life composer.” Because no one knows what that means, Miyuki is now a mainstay of the chat show circuit, repeatedly invited on to talk at length about her life and opinions. It was on one such show that Miyuki claimed to have been abducted by aliens, while on another occasion she let slip that she knows Tom Cruise since the actor used to be Japanese in a previous life! Miyuki Hatoyama for Prime Minister!

David Hellqvist is the Commissioning Editor of Dazed Digital, a freelance contributor to Men’s Vogue and GQ in China, AnOther Man, ZOO and i-D Magazines. He also writes the blog Fashion in Politics

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Jacob Zuma / The Spin / AnOther Mag

The Spin | Jacob Zuma
— May 11, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his fortnightly column The Spin

South Africa has a long tradition of charismatic and colourful leaders. Everyone knows Nelson Mandela; and FW de Klerk has also gone straight into the history books. But both men can learn a thing or two from the current South African President Jacob Zuma when it comes to making the most of an entrance.

The 68-year-old Zuma took power exactly a year ago and visited the UK only a few weeks ago. Zuma, like Mandela, represents the African National Congress (ANC) which not that long ago brought out their own line of fluorescent leather jackets. The collection brought on a fashionable media storm, that is until punters noticed the jackets were by ANC, not APC.

Zuma’s own personal style is best described as eclectic. When he got married in January – to his third wife – Zuma was pictured performing the ritual dance moves of his Zulu tribe, wearing a leopard skin, several animal tails as a skirt and a leopard head band. To enable the dancing, Zuma wore fresh-from-the-box Reebok trainers and Reactolite glasses.

The President is an avid believer in frequent reproduction, and has fathered 20 kids. Open about his polygamy, he says: “There are plenty of politicians who have mistresses and children who they hide so as to pretend they are monogamous. I prefer to be open. I love my wives and I am proud of my children.”

During his political career, Zuma has been accused of racketeering, corruption and rape. No charges have been pinned on him and he was acquitted in the rape case. In fact, the only thing Zuma has ever served time for was his attempt to overthrow apartheid, which in 1963 resulted in a 10-year prison sentence that he served on Robben Island, together with Mandela. Still, he should have been sent down for those leather jackets.

David Hellqvist is a freelance journalist for AnOther Man, Dazed & Confused, i-D, ZOO and a Contributing Editor to American website JC Report

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Labour's Own Balmain Bride

A while ago I read a piece in a fashion mag where the writer was questioning the credentials of Balmain. 'How many seasons can you go on using big angular shoulders?', the person rightly asked. Margiela did it a few years back, Christophe Decarnin at Balmain continued the trend, made it big, exploded the brand and then....he continued doing the shoulders....again and again.

Surely this image, if nothing else, must be end of this trend. This is Margaret Hodge, Labour MP of Barking and Dagenham, who the other day beat the political crap out of BNP's Nick Griffin. Great, well done Hodge. But WTF are you wearing?

You are not standing one the command bridge of the USS Enterprise, even though it looks like SPOCK standing on your right. I know, I probably just confused two very different sci-fi series....but you know what? I don't give a shit, they're equally bad.

Anyway, back to the point; shoulders. A massive thanks to Margaret Hodge MP for beating the BNP and for single handily killing off the massive shoulder trend. 

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Nick Henman

It's the night before the election and all three party leaders are still out campaigning. The whole country is of course at home, watching shit telly, so Gordy, Dave and Nicky are probably preaching to their PA. Anyway, we know that Tony Blair once was in a rock band (admittedly they were called Ugly Rumours, but still...), Cameron once dressed daft with his homo erotic band of brothers in the Bullingdon Club and Gordon he....well, never mind what he got up to as a youngster, because he probably doesn't know himself....but now we also know what Nick Clegg did on his adolescent spare time. Tennis. That's him, second from the left, you neo-conservative little social democrat in a cricket jumper! Apparently he also did a bit of amateur theatre. Of course you did mate.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Election Anthems - Who's The Winner?

Scary as it is, Hadouken, Nu Brand and Right Said Fred have all done their versions of party anthems for the election....listen and fear the future, my friends. Who ever said 'Thank you for the music, thank you for the joy it's bringing' was wrong....Who do you reckon is the least crap one?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

FiP interview on Vogue.co.uk

Style File: Miriam Clegg
JULIA NEEL 28 April 2010

Miriam Gonzalez Durantez - aka Mrs Nick Clegg - has made a reputation for herself as a no-nonsense woman who works hard and is taken seriously. Whereas her rival wives in the race for Number 10 - Samantha Cameron and Sarah Brown - have been pictured with their husbands in an array of headline-making outfits, international trade lawyer Miriam has quietly gone about her own business.

"I don't have a job I can abandon for five weeks and I imagine that's true for most people," she told the Daily Mail in April of her comparative absence from her husband's side during the campaign.

"Miriam has shown that it's not always best to be everywhere and wearing the loudest colours," says David Hellqvist of Fashion in Politics. "She has been going to work and getting on with life, which has earned her kudos from the press and the public."
Be that as it may, we have seen a penchant for elegantly feminine dresses and neat separates from the Liberal Democrat leader's wife and she's often pictured with her ready-for-anything, across the body satchel by Bimba & Lola.

But does what the leaders' wives wear bear any reflection on the outcome of the election? "What the wives wear is of course irrelevant to Westminster politics and policies," Hellqvist goes on. "But the ladies' looks say something about the person behind the politician, and we are after all in the process of voting for one of them as the new Prime Minister. So they matter very much in that sense. Saying that, though, it is pretty fun seeing SamCam and Sarah Brown competing in their 'Who Can Wear The Most Erdem Dresses Race'."

The Spin / Nick Clegg / AnOther Mag.com

The Spin | The Race is On
— April 27, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his fortnightly column The Spin

Animated Debate still Taken from an animation by El Mysterioso, origianl image by New Folder

The race is on; the General Election is around the corner but the biggest political news to emerge over the last few weeks of campaigning is not the Bordon Brown’s sense of humour – sorry, that’s meant to be Gordon – or David Cameron’s love of the NHS. No, it’s the apparent existence of a third party and its leader, Nick Clegg. I know – who?

Admittedly that’s a bit unfair: most people of course know of the Liberal Democrats, but hard working TV reporters often don’t stop looking until they find an interviewee who sees a picture of Clegg and think he’s the guy who sold them their new car last week. The reason for this change of direction in the election campaign is primarily Clegg’s impressive performance in the two recent Leader Debates. But to be honest, all Clegg had to do was to point at Brown and Cameron and say “I’m not them!”

Also Vince Cable, Clegg’s political wife, helped out. When both other party leaders showed off their spouses at the start of the campaign, Clegg brought along his financial guru for a cuddle and photo opportunities. But the successful marriage makes sense: while SamCam and SarBro fight over the latest Erdem dress, Clegg’s man wife is busy planning the country’s economical recovery.

Speaking of wives, Clegg’s real spouse, Miriam, often refuses to compromise her day job as a solicitor to appear as Lib Dem arm candy. But a recent Clegg interview in GQ suggests that Miriam might want to keep an eye on her husband. Journalist Piers Morgan made the Cleggster admit to having bedded “no more than 30 women,” which might seem as an optimistic figure, but let’s face it, Clegg’s the most attractive one out of the PM wannabe trio.

There is very little to say about how Nick Clegg dresses, except for the fact that if you saw the three party leaders without showing their faces, you would be able to pick Bordon out because he’s got the most generous chest size; Cameron would stick out because of his manicured finger nails; while the only thing to give Clegg away is that awful yellow tie he always wear. Wouldn’t you love it if Clegg and the Lib Dems changed party colours to black, silver or maybe even gold, just anything but…yellow!

David Hellqvist is a freelance journalist for AnOther Man, Dazed & Confused, i-D,ZOO and a Contributing Editor to American website JC Report

The original animation can be seen here

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Vogue Does Fashion & Politics

The Guardian might have created a whole new page dedicated to the General Election, but it seems that Vogue isn't far behind. Having realised the power that lies in fashionable politics and political fashion, the website version of Vogue has taken a sartorial point of view on the current election campaign. Vogue.com's UK fashion editor Julia Neel presents a running commentary in the shape of style profiles on Sarah Brown and Samantha Cameron  and more in-depth pieces on what kind of accessories the wives of our party leaders wear...Have a look before you vote!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

One Film Says More Than A Thousand Words

Kindly sent in by loyal FiP reader Paul Davies. Taken from Armando Iannucci's Time Trumpet (2006)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

David Cameron - The Spin - AnOther Magazine

The Spin | David Cameron: Fashion Face Off
— April 13, 2010—
David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his fortnightly column The Spin

Three things come to mind when thinking of David Cameron and his style: a bicycle helmet; the rolled-up sleeves of a tie-less white shirt; and his puffed-up baby face. Two of these are manufactured elements and part ofthe current election campaign: the third is just the way he is. What you see is what you get.

No one can have missed the General Election campaign in the UK. Since last week, and until May 6, Britain’s roads and doorsteps will be crowded with politicians, and Dave’s one of them. More than likely, you’ll see him without a suit jacket or tie and with rolled-up sleeves. If you didn’t know, that’s because he is one of us: Dave isn’t afraid of getting his Thomas Pink shirt dirty. With the collar unbuttoned, Dave is able to relax with the common people.

The bicycle helmet is obvious. The Tories used to be Blue, now they’re Green. The helmet shows how engaged Dave is with environmental issues. He really cares about global warming, even enough to catch a flight to the Norwegian archipelago to see the icebergs melt for himself. Dave rides his bike to work, at least before it got stolen because Dave failed to grasp the elementary function of a bike lock. This way Dave gets his exercise AND helps reducing carbon monoxide. It’s just a shame that his PA was caught driving behind him with his briefcase…

The baby face, lastly. How can we have missed it? For a while it was plastered on every single wall and billboard throughout the country. At least that’s how it felt. Had he been airbrushed or not? That was the question on everyone’s lips. But if he had been polished, it only made his baby cheeks even more pinchable. But that makes sense because, in political terms at least, Dave is just a puppy. At 43 we would be one of Britain’s youngest Prime Ministers ever.

I’m just waiting for Gordon Brown to walk up to Dave during PMQ one day, put a bicycle helmet on him, roll up his sleeves, and pinch those cheeks, so that Dave can go out and play with the other kids.

David Hellqvist is a freelance journalist for AnOther Man, Dazed & Confused, i-D,ZOO and a Contributing Editor to American website JC Report

Sunday, 11 April 2010

General Tie Competition 2010

Any man who can't tie a tie needs to learn that skill immeditatley. It's a bit like riding a bicycle: once you've learnt you always know how to do it. You might think you're never going to need it, but one of these days you will, and having to ask for help is not on. I'm not suggesting that any of these three gents can't tie their own tie, but I'm interested in how they tie it, and what kind of tie they normally go for.

There's always that classic argument that DC needs a blue tie, GB a red and NC a yellow one. And as you can see, they often feed into these stereo types themselves. But forget about the colour for a while; look at the knot. I'm terribly dissapointed in GB's tie knot; out of these three, he's closest to a Banker Wanker tie. You know, the massivly over sized ones that everyone in the City sports. One wonders what is they're trying to compensate for? It ain't a lack of dosh, that's for sure....

Also, except for the knot, I'm not crazy about the shiny shade of purple he's gone for. Genrelly speaking, fellow gentlemen, avoid purple. It has too much Burton and Bluewater shopping centre about it! Also NC has a too shiny tie, and yellow is rarely a good colour for clothing - even though, in this case, it is his party's fighting colours.

It pains me to say it, but DC is the winner. Blue, out of the three party colours, is by far the most versatile and subtle colour. The Tory knot, surprisingly enough, is also the best one; Where GB's is too big and shiny and NC's a bit too thin and pointy (plus shiny), Cameron has the perfect size and angle...but he looks a bit puffy in the face, doesn't he....

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Kimmy - Best Dressed In The World!?

The Daily Telegraph brings exciting news from the far east. It claims that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is a fashion force to reckoned with. We knew that! According to the local commie rag, Rodung Sinmun, Kimmy inspire people all over the world with his sartorial decisions. "The reason is that the August image of the Great General, who is always wearing the modest suit while working, leaves a deep impression on people's mind in the world. To sum it up, that is because his image as a great man is so outstanding." It's an odd thing to say, but it gets better. The paper quotes a "French fashion expert" (probably the cleaner at Vogue), who says: "Kim Jong-Il mode which is now spreading expeditiously worldwide is something unprecedented in the world's history". I want the jacket, I want those sunglasses and I wan that haircut!
Kindly sent in by loyal FiP reader Danica Lo

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Obama Throws Up...A (Hair)Ball

It's always a treat for us here at FiP when POTUS Obama - or indeed, any other Western politician - enters public life in something else rather than a suit. In Obama's case it unfortunately means that is again time for his regular baseball pitch. I wonder how often he has to do it? It can't be just once a year, right? It wasn't long ago since we covered the last one here and on POP (image below)

But it seems that Obama has listened to my critique of his mommy jeans and dreadful Ascis trainers. This time around, as you can see above, he's smartened up and with leather brogues and formal trousers. But I'm afraid it ain't no improvement, Mr President. I suppose it's not helped by that over sized red jacket...

With Mr Obama it's - it seems - either trashy casual or nerd smart. Neither is good on him. I'm (sort of) looking forward to the next pitch..and an improved throw outfit....