In a way it was meant to happen. In fact, you could read it as a natural progression and not as the perverse plan of a mutant alien being in search of new worlds to infest and infect like a malevolent virus.
Fashion after all is an intricate jumble of money and power that often leads to subtle wars and, well, politics is more or less the same. What am I talking about? By now you've probably heard it all, Anna Wintour, British editor of US Vogue, backing President Obama's re-election campaign, but rumoured to be actually aiming at a job as ambassador in London.
Wintour raised $500,000 for President Obama's re-election campaign and today she will also be co-hosting a $40,000-a-plate fundraising dinner at the New York home of Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker.
In a video posted last week on YouTube - as the camera stylishly focuses on a scarf from a previous fashion-backed fundraising effort, Runway to Win (with its collection of T-shirts, bags and scarves by prominent American designers), Wintour invites people to win tickets to today's Obama fundraising function, stating she is extremely lucky as her job allowed her to meet “incredible women like Sarah Jessica Parker and Michelle Obama” (well, she could have at least put Michelle first, by the way, what about any female astronauts, scientists or writers, no eh? Oh well...).
Currently serving on the President's committee on the arts and humanities, Wintour already supported Obama in 2008, but, in the last few years her presence at political events became stronger as she attended key events at the White House including the official dinner in honour of UK Prime Minister David Cameron's visit. .
If Wintour is after a job in displomacy, well, she certainly wasn't the first one to start the trend: last year Vogue Italia's editor Franca Sozzani was elected UN Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion4Development (whatever this fancy title means/implies...).
Since then Sozzani has acquired the annoying habit of dressing in local costumes (but you're warned: if you try to turn up in your own country/regional costume at a fashion show populated by famous editors and high profile bloggers, you would be deemed as utterly unfashionable as they know better how/when/why to mix local costumes from other countries with extremely expensive pieces and achieve the best results, but you don't...), travelling to faraway countries for useless awards and embarrassingly insulting an entire continent by claiming of “rebranding Africa” in the June/May 2012 issue of L'Uomo Vogue (together with a little help from her photographer son - lovely how Italian mothers still dote on their children until they are in their mid-30s-40s...).
Then there is the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that will also be infested by fashion and where brands such as Vivienne Westwood and Ilaria Venturini Fendi’s Carmina Campus, will be discussing about good business models for a sustainable future.
While you could argue that the presence of specific brands is somehow justified in this case by the main theme of the conference, the role of shady Wintour and Sozzani in diplomatic matters remains questionable.
They may be talented editors and powerful women, but they aren't really famous for their diplomatic skills and ability to relate to ordinary human beings not dressed in designer clothes, without taking into consideration that they do not have any foreign policy experience.
Sozzani also displayed rather dubious journalistic skills and very little knowledge of Africa when she suggested in a recent interview with President of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan to sort out the complex problems of his country by opening up expensive shops and starting up a fashion week (cringing quote: “All the richest Nigerians spend their money abroad because there are no shops here, no hotels with a chic African flair, no hip restaurants or clubs. Why not build an African Rodeo Drive in Lagos or Abuja, with boutiques carrying both imported and Nigerian goods? (...) There’s also Mercedes, which sponsors a lot of fashion weeks. We could talk about doing one here. In any case, there is no shortage of ideas, but we need to act, and quickly. In the northern part of the continent, Nigeria is the country with the greatest potential. Why not take advantage of it?”)
Wintour committed other faux pas: only last year US Vogue called Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's wife, Asma, "glamorous, young and very chic – the most magnetic of first ladies" in a profile dedicated to her that was then removed from Vogue’s site after the recent slaughters of civilians committed by security forces loyal to Syria’s President.
The implications of Wintour considering a political appointment, are quite interesting, though I find very interesting one main consequence: if such dubious characters with too much power and too many clothes in their closets cover ambassadorships, younger people with a talent for being ambassadors and a genuine interest in international diplomacy will never manage to cover such posts.
On the other hand, electing her as ambassador and sending her to another country and not necessarily to hospitable and trendy London, may be the proper solution: “Nuclear Wintour” and her solid helmet hair would probably resist in a war zone much better than your average ambassador as she probably doesn't eat/sleep or has any other vital functions that ordinary human beings display.
In fact, we could issue more international ambassadorships for further obnoxious fashionable characters, group them and rebrand them as "The Glam Glam Club" (such people love branding and rebranding, you see...) and send them all to war-riddled countries. Maybe that would finally put some sense of reality into their minds.
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