As she zipped her way around New York City last week, Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin strayed little from the every businesswoman attire she’s adopted since the convention. That meant a slim black suit on Tuesday, a gray skirt and — a bolder move here, for her interview with Katie Couric — a bright pink jacket on Wednesday, which she replaced with a dark V-neck ruffled blouse before meeting with Iraqi and Georgian leaders, and black trousers and a gray mandarin-collared jacket on Thursday. Yet after weeks of flurried investigation on everything from her habit of secondhand shopping (we now know that, prior to the nomination, Palin snapped up an Escada tweed coat at Out of the Closet, an Anchorage-based resale shop she has frequented) to her lipstick preference (she has allegedly switched from Mary Kay to MAC) to her supposed swat team of stylists, the McCain campaign and those in the fashion industry are taking a clear stance on Palin’s style: No comment.
With the presidential race entering its final four-week stretch, and the widely anticipated vice presidential debate set to take place tonight, it may be that the initial frenzy to identify Gov. Palin’s preferred brands and subsequently take shots at, or race out and purchase, said labels — depending on one’s taste or party — has given way to an effort not to seem consumed by the more frivolous aspects of the election.
“I am not commenting on this one,” Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director Michael Fink replied when asked about the $2,500 silk shantung Valentino jacket Palin wore to the Republican National Convention that was reportedly purchased at Saks. “We just can’t comment,” a spokeswoman for Valentino said when asked about any other pieces by the designer that the candidate had worn. That secret stylist army? “We don’t comment on the governor’s wardrobe, but thank you for reaching out,” said Palin’s campaign spokeswoman Maria Comella. Even the previously chatty folks up in Alaska are learning to keep quiet. “Oh, jeez, I’m not supposed to say anything [about her],” said a saleswoman, identifying herself as Katherine, at Nordstrom’s in Anchorage, where Palin has been a longtime customer. “I think you’re supposed to call corporate.” (Corporate didn’t return calls.)
Unlike Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain, whose looks at last week’s presidential debate were either fashion-forward (Obama once again selected a floral Thakoon shift) or classic and formal (for McCain, a red pantsuit), Palin, as the lone female candidate in the race, imparts a down-to-business image, but she’s neither power babe nor sexy secretary — her suits are fitted but never tight, the skirts pencil-shaped and knee-grazing, the colors either black or bold (Palin’s jackets are, perhaps not coincidentally, primarily red, white or blue). Notably missing from her feet in recent days are the Naughty Monkey gold-buckled peep-toe heels that she purchased at Juneau’s Shoefly + Hudsons boutique before the convention and had been wearing on the trail. (It was revealed that the label is favored by Paris Hilton.) “I would say she made an effort to shop locally,” said the boutique’s co-owner, Sydney Mitchell, who noted Palin picked up a pair of Sofft black heels at the same time. “I think it took effort for her to carve time to visit local stores. I think she made a point to do that.” In New York, Palin wore dark pumps each day.
In the meantime, several fashion designers — known to be a mostly liberal-leaning bunch — are steering clear of peanut gallery observations and declined to comment for this story. One fashion insider who has felt free to put in his two cents, however, is Barneys creative director Simon Doonan. “It’s either love or hate,” said Doonan, who has made no secret of his Democratic partisanship. As for the impact of her wardrobe on voters’ minds, he added, “Nothing she wears will cause anyone to budge, so she might as well enjoy her clothes and go for a little flamboyance. I’m seeing a little Jackie Rogers, a little vintage Mackie.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast