Monday, February 1, 2010

Amidst the cooing over Cheryl Cole´s interview in February's Vogue, something appears to have been overlooked. ´Who's That Girl?´ on page 136. Samantha Cameron is that girl and six pages have been devoted to a profile of this multi-dimensional woman as The Political Wife,The Creative Director and The Family Woman. I think I just fell into 1984. The feature, a carefully constructed ´profile´ in spin-laden glory, is bold to the point of gauche in its attempt to present itself as an innocuous portrait of the Modern Tory Women. And as a seemingly worthy feature for Vogue. Overdressed, it sits alongside Christa D´Souza´s well-judged exchange with Cole, and the functional coolness of David Bailey's portraits of ´Women in Uniform´. I can only assume Shulman believed that sandwiched in between the two we might miss the fact that ´Sam´ is being profiled, for want of any creatively original reason, via a kind of outdated political PR medium the magazine sees fit to champion - perhaps to mark this season's return to strong shoulders, a trend that has also been unearthed from the 1980s. This is not to question Samantha Cameron's worth or interest as an individual. It's clear she is worth a great deal, to her husband, her family, her company and her friends. What's questionable is the decision to feature her in such a grandiose manner and dazzling shade of blue. The credit crunch might be diluting the potency of high fashion, but it makes one wonder just how it came so high up the agenda of this publication. In reality though this is neither surprising nor interesting. Politics today is nothing without spin, and we're done with caring about nepotism in the moral maze of media networking. What's really last season is the way in which Cameron has been portrayed. 'She's not a no-carbs sort of girl, she's 'a family woman' it explains, alongside offerings on her time at University, in Bristol. She lived in St Paul's ´...that still had a louche reputation (for) its pivotal role in the city's race riots.' Indeed before today's cocoon coats there were paint-spattered clothes, black leggings with crossbones, even a dolphin tattoo. Amy Winehouse eat your heart out! If this painful-to-read PR speak sticks out like a sore (albeit well manicured) thumb in Vogue, it is surely equally at odds with a modern Tory party who might want to distance themselves from the outdated and patronising 20th century feminist notion of the 'have it all' women, one I imagine Samantha Cameron, like any other woman with children, a career and a life, bemoans the need to quantify and winces at the superwoman connotations. However nice her house and her wardrobe - we've moved on. Ironically, a feature on Baroness Thatcher which appeared in the magazine last year closed with the summation that the Tory Party has taken over a decade to emerge from her shadow. Which leaves me wondering: why Vogue can't ditch the pussy bows and do the same?