‘My readers are skeptical about fashion.’
Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan on the politics of appearance and the appearance of politics.
Interview by Jonathan Wingfield
Photographs by Brigitte Lacombe
In March this year, White House press secretary Sean Spicer attended a press conference wearing odd shoes, as if he’d fallen out of bed and panic-dressed. It wasn’t the first time that his appearance had become news. President Trump was reportedly displeased that the ill-fitting suit Spicer wore to his first ever press conference looked like he’d borrowed it, because, as journalist Robin Givhan notes, Trump clearly understands that presentation in politics matters.
Givhan has been writing about the revealing mix of these seemingly immiscible issues – of clothing and politics – for many years. That’s perhaps inevitable when you’re chief fashion correspondent for the Washington Post, the newspaper of record in the US capital.
In System issue No. 9, Givhan discusses the appearance of politics, the dialectics of style, and what it takes to be a prize winning critic, having been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for her work in 2006.
Keep an eye on the website for a film featuring Givhan, by renowned portrait photographer and director, Brigitte Lacombe.