Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Such a relief! No agonising wait for Tory Party members to dish up yet another nightmare scenario. Rishi Sunak propelled directly to Number 10. Above all, hurrah for menswear. What triviality, you say. Well, I hope you realise – this is historic. Tony Blair flirted feebly with Paul Smith and hair dye. David Cameron looked promising in Richard James but grew puffy in office. So now at last we reach a turning point – for the first time in the whole history of prime ministers, we’ve got one who champions menswear. Menswear is so overlooked anyway. Now we’ll have it round the clock.
We couldn’t have hoped for a better result. Some people think fashion is unimportant. They’re wrong. Fashion is a matter of life and death. You perhaps don’t remember the outcry when Michael Foot, Labour leader of the Opposition, at the brainy end of the Extreme Left, wore a donkey jacket at the Cenotaph for Remembrance Sunday. That was in the 1980s. Male politicians are a disgrace almost without exception. Their clothes are so awful. They let Britain down. They let us all down. You look at them and instantly lose hope.
When I saw Rishi getting into his car over the weekend, I could see at once he was wearing a really good jumper – or what political commentators will now have to get used to calling an ‘item of knitwear’. Rishi is made for clothes. It’s fantastic. The very first time I saw him ever, a few years ago, I have no idea what he was saying – I couldn’t take my eyes off the suit. There must have been some silk in the fabric. It was a gasp-making moment – a flash of perfection. Elegance and luxury come to the House of Commons as never before.
Rishi’s Henry Herbert suit (cameras caught the label one day when he didn’t do up his jacket) cost £3,500. His Prada loafers at £450 just show how ‘out of touch’ he is. This is plain old double standards. Margaret Thatcher always had expensive clothes (and diamond brooches to ‘level her up’ to the Queen). Mrs May got some stick for those horrible leather trousers by Amanda Wakeley that cost £995. But all her other clothes were by fabulously expensive designers and even hardcore old Labourites like Margaret Beckett said she was always ‘beautifully turned out’. No-one has ever said that of a male prime minister.
The truth is, Rishi is a bargain. Women’s couture outfits, such as those worn by her late Majesty the Queen, cost £10,000 minimum. Rishi spends the money and you can see at once it’s worth it. He looks incredible. Now is the time for seriousness. New clothes give hope. Rishi was an investment banker. He knows what to invest in.
As told to Rakewell by Thomas Blaikie.
Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or via @Rakewelltweets.
‘She changed how we encounter sculpture’ – remembering Phyllida Barlow (1944–2023)