The topic of heated discussion this weekend, in the press, was that of Samantha Cameron and the M&S dress she wore at the Tory Conference this year. Her humble sartorial tastes turned out to be a lot less humble than previously thought.
Samantha was commended initially for wearing a £65 Marks and Spencer dress and Zara heels, thus indirectly proving to the nation, that she is ‘one of us’ and that her husband deserves the votes of the common British people. It came out at the weekend that the dress in question, had completely run out in the UK and was actually made bespoke for Samantha by M&S, as a special favour.
For me, working in fashion and knowing full well the lengths that occur to ensure that high-profile people wear a brand, it didn’t seem particularly outlandish for M&S to go to so much trouble to get the dress produced. Such relationships and invaluable column inches are second to none and from M&S’s point of view it’s obviously worth it.
From the Cameron’s point of view it now looks like a situation misjudged. Perhaps Samantha was unaware of the effort gone into getting her the dress and is now shocked to see the truth of her privileges outed in the papers. On the other hand, one would imagine that such a high profile couple would be accustomed to having their lives investigated; it would come as no surprise to them that the public would eventually find out that the dress was not bought off the peg and paid for in full, therefore negating the original wardrobe tactics that were being made.
I think its perfectly resonable for us women to use whatever is at our disposal to get the dress of our desire; pull strings if we can, haggle for discount, absolutely. However, when such serious, sartorial, political points are at stake… it comes across as inappropriate. Some might say disingenuous.
To make the statement that Samantha clearly intended to make, she needed to have travelled by rush hour tube in someone’s armpit, braved the crazy tourist crowds in Oxford Street, gone into the M&S store and bought the dress full price, together with a few multi-packs of knickers. Then, perhaps, one could argue that the Camerons are just like the rest of us.