Does Emmanuel Macron try to dress like Volodymyr Zelensky?
On the morning of March 14, Emmanuel Macron’s official photographer uploaded a photo series on his Instagram account showing the French president working the day before from his gilded Parisian office. In the close-ups, a weary-looking President Macron, 44, sports a conspicuous band of thatch, beefy mutton chop sideburns, jeans and a hoodie bearing the logo of “CPA10”, a French Air Force special forces unit.
Even though it was a Sunday, this was an atypically dressed ensemble for President Macron, a politician who has demonstrated a conservative fashion sense over the years. During his nearly five years in office, he was rarely seen in public wearing anything other than a pearly white shirt with a modest spread collar, a navy suit and a matching blue tie. Seeing President Macron at his worst on Sunday was shocking to those in France and abroad.
On social media, many have accused the French leader of trying to copy Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s humble wartime look. Since the Russian invasion last month, President Zelensky (also 44) has stuck to olive green jackets, hoodies and t-shirts, as well as a slight beard, for his appearances in the media.
The similarities – particularly the brutal fall of the mostly clean-shaven President Macron into the stubble – have not escaped political pundits and publications ranging from TMZ for The telegraph in London. “A month ago, it would have been hard to imagine French President Emmanuel Macron trying to copy President Volodymyr Zelensky. This is now the reality we live in,” one widely shared post read. Tweeter by Oleksiy Sorokin, political editor and chief operating officer of the Kyiv Independent.
President Macron’s office had declined to comment, but after the publication he said: “It’s not something new that the president wears casual clothes on weekends. The whole team also wore casual clothes. It is neither a ‘decision’ nor a ‘novelty’.
While a hoodie and jeans lean toward the laissez-faire extreme of the fashion spectrum, President Macron was really only employing the well-worn political trick of being visibly casual, even careless, when it comes to fashion. was deemed necessary.
When leaders adopt casual clothes, it’s “just to show us and tell us that politicians are human too,” said Lauren Rothman, a Washington, D.C.-based stylist who has worked with businessmen and politicians. Show us is the crucial point. When the cameras start to flicker, it turns a standard Sunday into a political moment that could sway the public.
“Dress as your audience suggests, ‘I’m one of you, we’re the same, we’re in this together,'” said Peter Loge, associate professor of political communication at George Washington University. .
In 1992, while running for office, future President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were photographed after a jog holding McDonald’s cups while wearing skimpy shorts, trucker caps and t-shirts drenched in sweat. During his years in the White House, President Barack Obama was photographed working from the executive wing on weekends without a tie. On the campaign trail for the 2020 Democratic primary, former mayor Pete Buttigieg, then in his 30s, would often forego a blazer and roll up his sleeves — a move many political analysts interpret as playing on his youth in a group of relatively geriatric candidates.
In 2020, when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee at a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, he too ditched his usual sports jacket and tie, perhaps to show his solidarity with the movement. And although he rarely strays from the suit, England’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of intentionally messing up his hairdo in order to make the blue-blooded politician appear like a man of the people.
It can be hard to tell when dressing is organic and when it’s strategic. President Zelensky transitioned from conservative suits to military green gear as his country was embroiled in war (that said, he was an actor before becoming a politician, so he’s probably very aware of how he appears on TV). As for President Macron, the timing of this photoshoot is probably no coincidence: France is less than a month away from its 2022 presidential election. he thinks dressing like a 90s tech bro will help,” Prof Loge said. While President Macron currently has a lead in the polls, his Instagram portraits showed a side of him the public has never seen before, something that might have been meant to sway voters.
As reviews of Macron’s photos suggest, being casual can sometimes be a miscalculation. American readers probably still remember the media whirlwind President Obama unleashed simply by wearing a khaki suit in 2014 (an incident that has its own Wikipedia page). seems natural, voters should believe that the clothing is genuine and not part of an act.
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