Talk about wearing your politics on your sleeve. An elitist clique of fashion designers has banded together to raise money for celebrity-in-chief Barack Obama and browbeat their customers into supporting him. Even worse, the Beautiful People who dress the Powerful People are putting increased pressure on conservatives to stay out of the business altogether.
Out: Haute couture. In: Hate couture.
In February, high-dollar bag-makers, cosmetics gurus and clothiers offered their services to help fill Obama's campaign coffers. Nearly two dozen gurus billed their enterprise as "Runway to Win: A Project by Fashion Designers in Support of the Obama Victory Fund." Campaign finance experts questioned whether employees of the corporate participants were truly "volunteering" their time in accordance with federal law. But of course, no Obama administration lawyers have bothered to enforce the rules.
A "custom backpack" with the "Obama rising sun logo" designed by model Chanel Iman goes for $65. A teeny-tiny baby onesie with "OBAMA" in bright red and blue letters goes for $65. A hideous Monique Pean cotton and hemp scarf with Obama's face splattered on it went for $95. Diane von Furstenberg pitched in two $85 tote bags and has grown more strident about her partisan agenda as Election Day nears. At a fashion event in her New York Meatpacking District store last month, she yelled at clients: "Everyone here better be a Democrat; no Republicans!"
Furthermore, von Furstenberg vented, "This is not a Republican party, just so you know! This is a non-Republican audience." The crowd cheered as she urged everyone to rush home to watch her Democratic idol's convention speech. But when conservative consumers protested on Twitter the next few nights, von Furstenberg tweeted: "I love and respect all Americans...Democrats and Republicans...love Diane."
"All Americans," except for Ann Romney, that is. When the designer learned last week that the GOP candidate's wife had worn one of her famous wrap dresses at a recent campaign rally in Florida, the company had a hissy fit. "(W)e're actually not quite sure how Ann obtained the dress," horrified public relations staffers told left-wing Buzzfeed.com.
Accustomed to comping pieces to first lady Michelle Obama and other favored lib celebs, von Furstenberg's team couldn't wrap their heads around the idea that most women who are fortunate enough to afford their products spend their own money to purchase them. She bought it? Mon dieu!
DVF Inc. then frantically distanced themselves from Mrs. Romney — and idiotically alienated half of American women.
While the president and first lady have ratcheted up their class warfare rhetoric against the Romneys, the Obama campaign has basked in the 1 percent glow of fashionistas woefully out of touch with middle America. British-born Vogue magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, a top Obama campaign finance bundler, is aggressively spearheading Runway to Win. She's held multiple million-dollar fundraisers for Obama in Hollywood, New York, London and Paris — and has raked in the fourth highest amount for the White House.
In return, she snagged two coveted invitations to fancy-schmancy White House State Dinners in January 2011 and March 2012. Wintour's $40,000-per-plate dinners are adorned with A-list celebs. She rubbed her nose in hurting families' faces by starring in a swanky campaign video filmed at her tony townhouse — which was released the same day the Labor Department released a miserable May unemployment report.
New Yorkers are now buzzing about Wintour intimidating designers into spurning Republican women. "The fashion industry is predominantly on the left," fashion publicist Lee Everett of LaunchPad PR told FoxNews.com, "noting that many brands and designers fear being associated with the GOP."
A political code of silence among conservatives in the business is de rigueur. But Everett sensibly lamented the industry's writing off of "the other '50 percent' of the country. For the sake of the fashion industry, it should remain apolitical."
Young New York City designer Bradley Scott also spoke up against ideological "persecution" in his industry. "It's really offensive for me, as a designer, to be issued an unveiled threat by someone who could exert an enormous amount of influence over my customers, store buyers and magazine editors," he told me on Tuesday. "I for one want absolutely nothing to do with this attack on women. This pressure upon designers should offend every woman in this country, not just the conservatives."
After four years of failed Hope and Change, Americans are finally realizing that the emperor of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. has no clothes. After Election Day, the demagoguing Democratic doyennes of Seventh Ave. may well find themselves out of style, too. Bigotry never wears well.
Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is [email protected]