The Politics Of Style

Published: 25 October, 2013 10:05 IST | Ruchika Kher and Dhara Vora |

With the 2014 general elections looming large, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, the two big guns who are carrying the mantle of their national parties, have been in the news from all quarters - political and otherwise. To add an dash of fun to this serious scrutiny, Ruchika Kher and Dhara Vora invited designers and textile gurus from their home bases in Delhi and Ahmedabad, to decode as well as suggest style mantras for both politicians. Check out how the fared

Anupama Dayal, Delhi:
On Rahul Gandhi: He is a good looking man, but somehow, he chooses to be very simple when it comes to his clothing. He should use better fabrics for his clothing with sharper cuts. If I had to dress him up, I would give him sumptuous silks in maybe black with sharp streamlined cuts because usually his kurtas tend to look very crumpled. He is half-Italian, so he has the potentioal of looking dapper. I would also give him scarfs, improve his footwear; basically, dabble a bit with his styling, which will add an edge to his look.

On Narendra Modi: He has such a strong personality; he should ditch his pastels and opt for rich colours like red, ochre, etc, that will give punch to his personality. So, if I had to decide clothing for him I would go all out with colour.

Verdict: Both the politicians need a warobe makeover, which is not boring.

Abdul Halder, Delhi:
On Rahul Gandhi: Since he is young, his look is easy going, but at the same time very clean and positive. I would totally give him a well-cut suit or maybe denims and a T-shirt.

On Narendra Modi: He has been in politics since a very long time and his attire signifies a more learned and experienced look. If I had to design for him, I would suggest a Bandhgala, which I feel he will carry off well.

Verdict: Like most other politicians, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi too, stick to understated, light colours and simple clothes because they want to come across as approachable to the common man. They want to show that they are one amongst them.

Pallavi Goenka, Ahmedabad:
Ahmedabad-based fashion designer, Pallavi Goenka tells us about the PM canditate from her state: “I consider Narendra Modi well dressed because he carries himself well and what he wears suits his personality. Why I really like it is because he has made it his signature style. It would be great if he could include more traditional fabrics including ikkat for kurtas, patola jackets, khadi kurtas and bandhgalas, and even bandhani dhotis. He represents Gujarat and Gujarat shares a bond and borders with Rajasthan so it would be great to see him in these heritage weaves, especially bandhani and patola.”

Jaya Jaitly, Founder and President of the Dastkari Haat Samiti and Former Samata Party president 

Style report for Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi
Both dress very consciously, even though Rahul Gandhi tries to look as if he is in a rough-and-ready mode, with rolled-up sleeves and a casual neta look. Narendra Modi always wore kurta pyjamas so his dress is not a put-on show. However, both presentations are well thought out. Rahul in normal life wears Western casuals so the kurta look is clearly for public consumption. Narendra Modi is now rather stiff and starched to suit the look of a statesman than a casual political worker.

Why do politicans opt for an understated look?
True political activists who are not just career or part time politicians always have a plain look because they don’t spend time worrying about their dress. They wear what is comfortable and convenient. Women, these days, are more dressy, but earlier, they wore khadi and simple handlooms as part of their commitment to Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas.

Are politicians doing enough to promote traditional crafts and textiles?
I doubt if many think of promoting anything but themselves! If they wear khadi nowadays it is to define themselves as politicians and not because they care for the poor khadi spinner or weaver. Handlooms are fine for women as most beautiful saris are hand woven or hand decorated. Men do not care about handloom either unless they have served the handloom sector or worked among weavers. Today, they have various bandhgalas and polyester safari style suits that are certainly not handloom. Those who wear handloom or khadi kurtas in the day change to western wear at night for 5-star partying or when they attend to their business interests. In fact other than for those who have worn them always as a part of their way of life, it is only showmanship.

Priya Dutt, MP, Mumbai North Central
“As far is best-dressed is concerned, I don’t think there is anyone who really stands out. I haven’t observed that keenly as to who wears what but mostly of them, young and senior, get by with the kurta pyjama. Even my dad (Sunil Dutt), sometimes, would attend meetings in kurta-pyjama.”

Best-dressed world leaders

We can never get enough of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s blue suits and he has a better half (Samantha) who is one of the best-dressed in the country too. The only other suited Brit who can match up to him would be James Bond, and he is fictional

A country that produces several beauty queens has an apt style ambassador with their President, Laura Chinchilla. Costa Rica’s politicla leader has wowed several style watchers with her fitted blazers and pencil skirts

Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan keeps it simple with Nehru jackets and white kurtas for his usual appearances but trusts a well tailored bandhgala for special occasions (his recent appearance at Mumbai Film Festival had us nodding in approval)

He is blessed with good Kashmiri looks and has even graced the cover of a men’s fashion magazine. Do we need any more reasons to include Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of J&K in this list? Pics/AFP

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