Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Spin column for

David Hellqvist tries to make sense of the sartorial choices of World Leaders in his fortnightly column The Spin

It’s painstakingly true that most stylish ladies in politics are wives of either Presidents or Prime Ministers. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, doesn’t have much to offer compared to Michelle Obama or Carla Bruni, two bright and fashion conscious women who are in the public eye because of their highflying spouses. To firmly put an end to this I give you Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko – one-part politician, one-part fashion icon.

Politically and stylistically, Tymoshenko has been making waves since being appointed Ukraine’s second in command – trailing only President Viktor Yushchenko, leader of the 2004 Orange Revolution. But her influence and in particular her characteristic style reach beyond Ukraine to the fashion capitals: the Victorian touches in Prada’s A/W08 collection seemed to resonate perfectly with Tymoshenko’s lace dresses and hairdo.

Apparently, Ukrainian people judge good looks by the thickness and golden hue of braids. By these measurements Tymoshenko is surely a beauty queen. Her trademark blonde braids, which she wears like a tiara, would surely make anyone vote for her. And as an ambitious politician she’s counting on these votes to carry her to the Mariyinski Palace – the official Presidential residence in the capital Kyiv.

Originally, however, a brunette wearing dark clothes, Tymoshenko opted for blonde locks and predominately white frocks a few years ago to achieve an angelic, innocent look. Politically savvy? Her fashion and/or public relations interests certainly encouraged an appearance on the cover of Ukrainian Elle, wearing Louis Vuitton. Had she been able to pick her favourite designer, it would have been Azzedina Alaia.

Because of her looks, there are many nicknames floating around for Tymoshenko – Princess Leia of Ukraine, the Slavic Joan of Arc – but you can always rely on rude bloggers to come up with something even saucier. They call her the PMilf…

David Hellqvist is a freelance journalist for AnOther Man, Dazed & Confused, i-D,ZOO and a Contributing Editor to American website JC Report.

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