Theresa May chooses L.K Bennett and a £1200 jumper for her Vogue shoot: 'It’s important to show that a woman can do a job like this and still be interested in clothes'

Theresa May photgraphed for American Vogue by Annie Leibovitz
Theresa May photographed for American Vogue by Annie Leibovitz Credit: American Vogue/ Annie Leibovitz

Theresa May chose a subscription to Vogue magazine as her Desert Island Discs luxury, so one can only imagine her delight to become the first British prime minister to be featured within the hallowed sartorial pages of the American edition, which is edited by British editrix, Anna Wintour. But, ever the sensible stoic, our Prime Minister did not let the excitement get the better of her, opting for a polished, pared-back look in the portraits shot by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Clearly, May has learnt her lesson from ‘Trousergate’, the scandal which consumed Westminster politics late last year after she was photographed in a pair of £995 Amanda Wakeley brown leather trousers for a magazine photo shoot. In some quarters, May was applauded for her daring choice, a poster woman for a generation which no longer concedes that ageing means dialling things down in the style stakes. But soon, the thorny issue of JAMs- the Just-About-Managing members of society whom May has promised to help- was raised. How would this arguably ostentatious fashion statement look to them? Nicky Morgan led the dissenters: “I don't think I've ever spent that much on anything apart from my wedding dress.”

Theresa May at Chequers wearing L.K Bennett Credit: Annie Leibovitz/Vogue

In the Vogue images, May is poised in a navy £225 dress and matching £425 coat, both by British label L.K Bennett, the only shot of colour coming from her fuschia manicure. The fashion crowd might be disappointed not to see the PM flying the London fashion week flag, lighting up Chequers in a sumptuously bright dress by Roksanda or a Christopher Kane biker jacket, but her choice to wear one of the country’s best-loved workwear brands makes perfect sense and the look is an expertly-pitched level of chic.

Theresa May wearing a coat and cashmere jumper by Egg, with her own Russell and Bromley boots Credit: Annie Leibovitz/ American Vogue

Not that May has completely conceded to the Trousermoaners. In a second shot of her striding the grounds beside husband Phillip, she wears a £450 red coat layered over a made-to-order £1200 cashmere jumper, both from conceptual London-based brand Egg, offering the subtlest hint of luxe. To balance things out, the patent boots are an old pair of Russell and Bromleys.

May fashion watchers might be disappointed to learn that we might not see the Black Watch tartan Vivienne Westwood suit which has become one of her signature looks again any time soon. It was labelled her ‘lucky’ suit after she wore it both on the day she announced her Tory party leadership bid and to deliver the speech she gave in January setting out her Brexit plans. “I think I’m going to stop wearing it now,”  May tells Vogue ‘irritably’.

We won't be seeing Theresa May's Vivienne Westwood suit again any time soon. Credit: Reuters

The Prime Minister is stoical about the attention her clothes attract: “It doesn’t stop me from going out and enjoying fashion,” she says of the commentary on her outfits which have recently included a coat by British designer Daniel Blake as well as plenty of pieces by Amanda Wakeley. “And I also think it’s important to be able to show that a woman can do a job like this and still be interested in clothes.” Hear, hear.

Comparisons to Margaret Thatcher might cause May to bristle-“I’m Theresa May. I do things my way”- but the two women’s quotes on fashion are uncannily similar. “I am passionately interested in fashion. It brings both pleasure—because being well-dressed gives everyone pleasure—and it brings jobs,” Thatcher told British Vogue in 1985. More than thirty years on, her successor continues to prove the point admirably.

Read the full feature here. 

 

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