Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 11:08 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 11:08 | SYDNEY

Political chic


Michael Fullilove


9 May 2008 09:32

A few years ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice caused the world’s diplomats to choke on their Ferrero Rochers when she appeared at Wiesbaden Army Airfield in Germany dressed in a long black military-style coat and black leather boots.

Now another world figure, this time new to the global stage, has defied couture expectations. The front page of today’s New York Times features a photo of the outgoing and incoming Russian presidents. Vladimir Putin is wearing a standard-issue dark political overcoat, but his replacement and protégé Dmitri Medvedev sports something that looks like a car coat, which doesn’t even reach his knee. It’s the kind of thing you might see on Liam Gallagher; it’s hard to imagine a Soviet leader wearing it on the reviewing stand atop Lenin’s mausoleum in Red Square during the May Day parade.

The potency of the image from Moscow lies in its relationship to reality. Medvedev has just been sworn into a fearsome office, yet beside Putin he looks like a boy in short pants.