"I FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT WITH THE RIGHT FOOTWEAR ONE CAN RULE THE WORLD." - BETTE MIDLER
Women's History Month, which celebrates and observes the vital role of women in history, arrives hot on the heels of the close of our election season. In celebration of new beginnings - both political and seasonal, we’ve decided to commemorate the iconic looks solidified in history by some of the worlds most stylish first ladies. Political fashion has long served as an endless subject matter to fuel a good salon ‘chin-wag’ that would see you through a full-head highlight application. In recent years, primarily thanks to the rise of reality TV, the sartorial choices being made by the world’s exclusive ‘First Wives Club’ has morphed into it’s very own soap opera where everyone has an opinion. The Kardashian effect is in full play; similar to the ‘First Ladies’ of reality TV, their every move is scrutinized, open to public interpretation and everyone has a favorite. Outfits are routinely dissected and put back together, subliminal meanings read into every color choice and brand selection as government interpreters scramble to unearth the possible secrets and strategy behind the powerful men they support. If Melania wears white, does Trump truly come in peace or is it a red herring to throw us off the scent of nuclear war?!
The link between fashion and politics is stronger now than at any time since Jackie Kennedy yet it is still a thankless role – a scaled equation of politics and diplomacy is essential when selecting a wardrobe that must please everyone, convey an aura of demure devotion, an understanding of the semiotics of style and a rather thick skin to brace yourself against the world in a day and age where ‘everyone is a critic’. It has often been said that behind every strong man there is an even stronger woman and we applaud the iconic women who have stepped up to the tricky challenge of what is to be a First Lady; modern women are living their best ever lives, stepping out of conventional roles and striving daily to obtain a higher quality of life yet our First Ladies are seemingly still bound by the same mythical expectations placed upon the “perfect 50’s housewife” - you’re required to wholeheartedly support your partners decisions, “feed the world”, “create world peace” and do it all looking beautiful and fashionable.
The famous street fashion photographer for the New York times, Bill Cunningham, famously quoted: “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life” - a statement which most certainly rings true for these ladies, who with the flick of new do can knock breaking news off the front page of any media outlet or a maybe a point or two off the polls. First ladies have become the supermodels of our age – a blend of soft power, fame and fashion and it would serve their spouses well to stay on their good sides. Remember Mr. Presidents, Happy Wife, Happy Life.
Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux-Macron is a French school teacher who is the wife of Emmanuel Macron, President of France and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra since May 2017. In 2015, to help support her husband in his political career, she ended her career as a teacher of literature at a prestigious private high school, Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague, in Paris.
JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS
Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis was an American book editor and socialite who was First Lady of the United States during the presidency of her husband, John F. Kennedy, from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.
María Juliana Awada Baker is an Argentine businesswoman and philanthropist of Lebanese and Syrian descent. She is the current First Lady of Argentina, married to the 53rd President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri. She is the first First Lady of Argentina to receive the distinction of the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic in 70 years and the second in history after Eva Perón in 1947.
Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano is the current Queen of Spain as the wife of King Felipe VI. Letizia Ortiz came from a middle-class family and worked as a journalist for ABC and EFE before becoming a news anchor at CNN+ and Televisión Española.
Maryam was the wife of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who was Nigeria‘s head of state from 1985 to 1993. She was credited with creating the position of First Lady of Nigeria and making it her own. As first lady, she launched many programs to improve the life of women. Her sense of style and beauty catapulted her to celebrity status with the nation looking to her as the sole source of sartorial inspiration - a movement which became to be known as the “Maryam Phenomenon", a position she retained long after her husbands fall from power.
Melania Trump is a Slovene-born American former fashion model and the First Lady of the United States, the wife of the 45th U.S. president Donald Trump. Trump is involved with a number of charities, including the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Boys Club of New York, the American Red Cross, Make A Wish Foundation, and the Police Athletic League.
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is an American writer, lawyer, and university administrator who was First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She is married to the 44th U.S President Barack Obama, and was the first African-American First Lady.
QUEEN RANIA OF JORDAN
Rania Al-Abdullah is the queen consort of Jordan. Born in Kuwait to a Palestinian family, she later moved to Jordan for work, where she met the then prince Abdullah. Since marrying the now King of Jordan in 1993, she has become known for her advocacy work related to education, health, community empowerment, youth, cross-cultural dialogue and micro-finance.
Samira Bawumia is a Ghanaian politician and the Second Lady of the Republic of Ghana. She is married to the Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia. Samira is the founder and CEO of the Samira Empowerment & Humanitarian Projects (SEHP), described as a not-for-profit organisation established with the purpose of empowering the underprivileged in Ghana through diverse social intervention projects to improve lives.
Sheikha Moza bint Nasser is the consort of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, former Emir of the State of Qatar. Since 1995, Sheikha Moza has led education and social reforms in Qatar and has founded national and international development projects.