How To Win The Vote: The H&M Approach

11/17/2011 09:02 am ET

Last Thursday was an ordinary day at the H&M store on Fifth Avenue. Except, you needed to arrive at least ten hours before opening time, be dressed comfortably enough to sprint, and come prepared to give a good dropkick, shove, or jab if necessary.

If this sounds a little like an exercise drill, that's because it was. This time H&M shoppers were gearing up for the ultimate fashion workout: the mad dash to grab - and buy - as many Roberto Cavalli designed pieces as possible. Karl Lagerfeld was the first widely recognized designer to collaborate with the mass brand. He was followed by the Stella McCartney and most recently the design duo of Viktor and Rolf. Each enjoyed record breaking sales and the strange satisfaction of fashionistas fighting to buy their clothes.

For Roberto Cavalli, A-List designer to A-List stars like Beyonce, Sharon Stone, Demi Moore and Jennifer Lopez, the reception was no different. The shoppers were eager to shake his hand, talk to him and obey his command to "tell me you love me." With the exception of the declarations of love, it almost felt like a political rally. Except candidates are never this lucky. The line of shoppers wrapped around the block looked like a presidential hopeful's dream: hundreds of young, educated, and employed women - many from that much coveted demographic of African-Americans and Hispanics. These fashionista's are dedicated, dependable and passionate - just not about the presidency.

They'd quicker vote for Cavalli than Clinton; sooner read up on Oscar than Obama, and would rather campaign for Givenchy than Giuliani.

I for one can't blame them. After all, the three main candidates seem to lack a certain "frockstar" appeal. Yet, if these aspiring world leaders ever want to attract the intense interest designers enjoy from the young, fashion forward masses, it would behoove them to cultivate a couture cool. Right now.

Naturally, a makeover would be the first step. For Obama and Guiliani, I would banish those staid, conservative suits and replace them with a very sexy bespoke ones by Tom Ford. A masculine gray or luxe black version is apropo, and would be complemented by a powder pink dress shirt. In true Tom Ford style, both men would leave the first few holes unbuttoned to give fans - I mean voters - a tantalizing glimpse of chest hair. On the feet? Alligator-skin, tassled loafers for Obama, and snakeskin oxfords for Guiliani. For whichever candidate felt bold enough, I would even suggest stark white leather shoes. Finally, in homage to their individual personality, each would accessorize the ensemble to their own tastes.

For Clinton? A total revamp of her current wardrobe. Enough with the double breasted pantsuits - and on to slinky, sultry jersey dresses ala Donna Karan or Diane Von Furstenburg. For gala events, she'd don sleek, feminine gowns that show skin. Yet instead of peeks of her decolletage (so passe), the gowns would demurely dip in at the back to show off Hilary's graceful shoulders. On her feet? Christian Louboutin. His trademark red soles would prove to fashionista's from D.C to Denver that Clinton is not just hardworking, she's haute.

Yet, what's a new signature look without a signature fragrance? To that end, each candidate would commission a perfume which captures their essence and would be worn, not just by them - but by staff and supporters. Think of this as the new "Vote For..." button. When it comes to names, the possibilities are endless: Handsome by Barack Obama...Love and Power by Hilary Clinton...and...My Wife Likes This Scent by Rudy Guilianni.

With all this couture cache in the bank, the obvious step would be to cash it in at - where else? - H&M. The presidential hopefuls would partner with the retail giant to create individual clothing lines inspired and designed by them. Following an intense ad campaign their new collections would debut on a strategic date - a week before election day. Their chic style and enchanting fragrance would culminate in their frockstar moment, much like Cavalli, Lagerfeld and Mcartney. This time the adoring fans in line to buy cheap clothes wouldn't be there for yet another fabulous designer - but a fabulous presidential candidate.


H&M Obama Suit