SHARPTON ON FASHION AND POLITICS: Rev. Al Sharpton’s appearance at Ralph Rucci’s show was a political favor of sorts, though not in the most traditional way. He said his companion Aisha McShaw, who works as a stylist, “comes to political rallies with me so I told her I’d go to fashion week with her.” His friend Andre Leon Talley got them through the door, just as he plans to do again at Dennis Basso’s show.

Last fall Sharpton’s National Action Network honored Talley with one of its Triumph awards. “She said I want to go to fashion week and I’m going to make Al come so here I am,” Sharpton said.

In Sharpton’s eyes fashion and politics aren’t so far apart. “I think they set trends. They bring people together. They are reflective of the times we are in,” Sharpton said. “People in the age of Obama don’t dress like they did in the age of [Lyndon] Johnson. That’s for sure.”

Asked to size up these times, Sharpton said, “Changing times — it’s very politically divisive so I think the fashion is very bold and very subtle. I think the contrast reflects the politics,” he said.

As for whether things are coming together, Sharpton said, “Oh yeah, out of tension things always come together. There is no growth without tension.”

The 59-year-old activist was less forthcoming about the designer of his salmon-colored wool suit which he wore with a charcoal gray wool coat. “That I can’t tell you. I’m not advertising. I know but…I’m being Andre-like flamboyant,” he said. “My daughter Ashley is into fashion and she helped me pick this out. She made me wear it.”

So was this just another Sunday night? “A little different than Sunday night church, but I’m here,” Sharpton said.

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