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Since Hillary Clinton stepped out onto the stage to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in Philadelphia on Thursday night, fashion watchers have been wondering who designed her historic white pantsuit.
At last, it’s been confirmed that it was Ralph Lauren.
Typically after any major event, from the Oscars on down, a design house will send a press release with celebrity-dressing credits. But that was not the case for Clinton on Thursday night, or even Friday, leading me to wonder if this would be a new precedent for the first female presidential candidate, and if Clinton had even asked for the designer not to come forward.
But apparently, it was just a delay, perhaps until a respectful amount of time had passed, because on Saturday night, a rep for Lauren confirmed that he did indeed make the pantsuit.
Clinton took on rival Donald Trump in her speech Thursday night for promoting his platform of America First, and then profiting off his many businesses selling things not made in America, including furniture and fashion. Ralph Lauren’s business is headquartered in New York, where I assume the suit was made.
Lauren landed in hot water in 2012 when it came to light that the Olympic uniforms he was providing to Team USA were made in China. Since then, he’s strengthened his made-in-the-USA program, and the Team USA uniforms that will be worn for the opening and closing ceremonies at the upcoming Rio Olympics were made entirely in the U.S., from the boat shoes to the leather bracelets.
Lauren’s business was founded on the American dream of upward mobility, so the symbolism of choosing him for Clinton’s big moment makes sense; the designer himself was born in the Bronx, the son of Jewish immigrants. A self-made man, Lauren started with a line of neckties and built it into a global fashion empire, even if that empire has been challenged in the past couple of years with flagging profits. (Perhaps this Clinton endorsement will be the shot in the arm the brand needs.)
Clinton honored Lauren at the Smithsonian in 2014, presenting him with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. The designer donated $10 million to help restore the Star-Spangled Banner that flew during the pivotal Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812, and $3 million to support the Save America’s Treasures program founded by Clinton when she was first lady.
Clinton wore a cobalt blue Ralph Lauren suit last year for the campaign opening rally on New York’s Roosevelt Island. The choice of a white suit for the historic occasion Thursday night suggested new beginnings and harkened back to the not-so-distant past, when suffragettes wore white to promote their struggle to gain the right to vote.
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