THE WARDROBE ISSUE: The politics of First Lady fashion may get its initial election-year test with Teresa Heinz Kerry’s appearance tonight when she addresses the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Will the independent-minded candidate’s wife, who loves Chanel, decide to dress all-American? “Don’t make any assumptions,” said Heinz Kerry’s spokeswoman.

This story first appeared in the July 27, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Heinz Kerry is spending the convention surrounded by a close circle of friends, including Chanel president Arie Kopelman and his wife, Coco, who are staying with her at the Park Plaza Hotel. Another pal, Diana Walker, said, “Don’t forget, she is known to wait until the last minute before deciding what to wear.”

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who is also co-chairman of the convention along with Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, already knows what she’ll be wearing Thursday night when it’s her turn to take the podium — and it won’t be domestic. The California congresswoman said she picked up a couple of Armani jackets at the Armani store in San Francisco to wear at the convention. At The New York Times party Sunday night, Pelosi said, “I’m wearing the Armani jacket that has a little light blue in it.”

LOOKING AHEAD: On Sunday, celebrity politics rolled into the spotlight, starting with a Comcast Cable-sponsored afternoon forum, “The Power of One: Decision 2008.” Danny Glover, Ben Affleck, comedian D.L. Hughley and “Joan of Arcadia” star Amber Tamblyn expounded on liberal politics before a youthful audience in a ballroom at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass. The talk occasionally veered from political to personal, as in Affleck’s response to gay marriage, which alluded to his failed nuptials with Jennifer Lopez, now married to Marc Anthony.

“As far as my opinion goes, marriage hasn’t been my thing,” he said to roars of laughter. “But gay people, knock yourselves out.”

Tamblyn, 21, with a pierced belly and wearing ballet flats, reflected this would be her chance to vote in a presidential election. “I feel like young kids have been marginalized and declawed,” she said. “We’ve had the voices ripped out of our heads.”

Hillary and Bill Clinton put in brief appearances at the Comcast VIP after-party at the hotel’s Regatta bar. Bill, fresh off a packed book signing at the Barnes & Noble at the Prudential Center downtown, was greeted by cheers of “We love you, Mr. President,” as he walked through the hotel lobby.

THE KERRY IMAGE: Just as Sen. John Kerry was making his surprise visit to the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park Sunday night to throw out the first ball, Democratic spinmeisters were saying there is no way anyone can turn the candidate into more of a good old boy as a way to offset some of his patrician stiffness.

“Can’t do it,” said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D., Ill.), who served as an adviser in the Clinton White House, and was a guest at The New York Times party at the Gamble House on Commonwealth Avenue. “It would be fake and people can smell that kind of stuff.”

Political consultant James Carville described Kerry like this: “He’s a Boston guy, kinda educated. He’s got a rich wife and he can run the country.”

CARTER IN KENNEDY COUNTRY: When it comes to healing old wounds within the Democratic Party, conventions can only go so far. Former President Jimmy Carter addressed the convention Monday night and, according to Jerry Rafshoon, a former Carter aide, his old boss is well aware of being in the hometown of his old adversary, Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“Don’t expect him to reach out and hug Sen. Edward Kennedy on the convention podium,” said Rafshoon, who showed up at the General Motors brunch at the Fairmont Copley Hotel Sunday hosted by lobbyist Debby Dingle.

Rafshoon reflected back to the 1980 convention in New York, when Kennedy tried to snatch the presidential nomination away from Carter, then the incumbent, who ended up losing to Ronald Reagan. “Back then, we would have liked to have had Sen. Kennedy give Jimmy Carter a hug on the podium,” he said. “It didn’t happen then and it’s not going to happen now.”

— Susan Watters and Katherine Bowers