What are you wearing, honey? A gown by Karl Rove and shoes by Karen Hughes

Bovs all over your tees! Sigh. Cokie Roberts has indeed been proven to be correct in her weekend prediction that the heretofore invisible Bush daughters would be increasingly whored out as visual props by the incumbent President’s campaign masterminds.
Witness the immaculately staged and perfectly-lit photograph taken by primo fashion shutterbug Patrick Demarchelier, sampled above, and slated to appear in the August issue of Vogue, alongside an additional photo of the twins in more casual attire (see below). Perhaps more significantly, the glossy images are accompanied by what can only be considered a kiss-blowing puff piece/article in the grand tradition of the magazine’s fawning coverage of politically peripheral luminaries such as Kirsten Dunst and Salma Hayek (both of whom, we hear, are wicked supporters of animal rights and the Reform-Party movement).
As the Washington Post states, the profile was written by one Julia Reed, who “describes herself as an ‘acquaintance of the family’ and has spent significant time writing about it.” Presumably, these writing projects on the First Family have nothing to do with Ms. Reed’s hard-hitting pieces on food (“Kebabing Along“, “Giving a Fig“, “Classic From a Can“) for the New York Times’ Magazine Desk.
In fact, she’s probably referring to her article in London’s Sunday Telegraph, dated November 5, 2000, which opens with the lead,

The only time I ever met George W. Bush during his drinking days, I was drunk and stoned myself. I was all of 15 and a guest at the wedding of Donald Ensenat, Bush’s Yale classmate and current adviser.
After we were introduced, I emptied the contents of my glass on to the shoe of the future governor of Texas, prompting my father to throw me into the back of his car and take me home.

Oh, wait, wait, wait…maybe it was this piece in the August 2, 2000 edition of Newsweek, entitled “Suddenly, Republicans are Crazy About Everybody: Likability is the convention’s most potent political attribute”, in which Ms. Reed writes, “‘Likability’ has apparently become a more potent political attribute than, say, having a firm grasp of issues or possessing formidable speaking skills…Republicans apparently find it more appealing to appear brain dead than engaged in the issues that often divide the party.”
Wow, Julia, honey, it’s amazing the First Lady even let you interview her daughters at all! Unless, maybe, you swore off any such opining or commentary…? According to the Washington Post, again, Reed’s current piece in Vogue presents such vital nuggets as:

…the daughters’ post-graduation plans include Jenna’s desire to work for a charter school and Barbara’s interest in working with AIDS-afflicted children in Eastern Europe and Africa. Both girls have surrounded themselves with a group of good friends who say such nice things about them that readers might be led to believe these young women have never burped publicly, let alone had a grumpy day.
The story’s headline promises that the daughters are about to “give the country a glimpse of who they really are by joining their father on the campaign trail.” But those who spend any time on such trails argue that the goal is not to reveal one’s real self but a perfectly polished and eloquently scripted facsimile.

But, of course, such low-key anecdotes aren’t the news, here. The news is these stunning photos! Thankfully, the Post’s Robin Givhan goes into greater detail on the real substantive issues:

Jenna’s ruby red dress is by Oscar de la Renta, a designer favored by her mother. Barbara is wearing a similar ivory gown by Calvin Klein.
The second photograph has the twins dressed in more casual attire. Barbara wears an Alberta Ferretti camisole and Max Mara skirt. Jenna is in a Moschino top, Tommy Hilfiger jacket and trousers from Joe’s Jeans. (The twins wear Italian and American labels but no French.) They are walking toward the camera, perfect teeth lighting up their pretty faces. Here they play the roles of chic girls about town. The setting is Schiller’s Liquor Bar, one of those downtown New York restaurants where town cars idle out front and the menu is voyeuristically working class, with a wine list that is cheap, decent and good.
They wear another kind of uniform, one that speaks of youth, hipness and moneyed polish. The clothes tease the viewer, offering the faintest whiff of the twins’ personalities. Is Jenna in jeans and jacket because she is more casual? More urbane? One wishes that the caption said something like: Jeans, model’s own. The restaurant is empty. It was closed for the shoot. There’s none of the liveliness that makes it such an enticing place. No “cheap” or “decent” wine on the tables. It’s just a tidy backdrop for two perfect smiles.

They’ll wear American and Italian, but no French? And come on, gals, Tommy Hilfiger?
Just so you know, ladies, as a bit of closing advice, French Connection U.K. is a British clothier, despite their misleading name, and you can and should feel comfortable supporting our most important ally in the War on Terror. Maybe next time, you darlings can sport one of those endearing “FCUK BUSH” T-shirts?

4 replies on “What are you wearing, honey? A gown by Karl Rove and shoes by Karen Hughes”

Even worse than the actual Vogue article is the paraphrased version that has shown up in mainstream news outlets, such as
Jenna said her parents have the “best marriage,” citing as proof that “my dad thinks my mom’s funny even though she’s really not — she’s cute, she has funny quirks.”
Jenna said her mother would tell them to clean their bedrooms.
“I call her OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] to her face, but I’m glad now, because some of it’s rubbed off on me,” she said.
Whoa. That’s some solid reporting right there. Who knew that a mom would actually tell her kids to clean their rooms? Innovative parenting alert! They also devote a surprising number of words to…singing karaoke at Camp David. The glamorous life., obviously.

Is it just me, or is anyone else glad that this guy didn’t have any sons to haunt us with the spectre of a George Bush III?
And while Jenna and Barbara trot around in gowns and designer fashions (“Hold my hair back! I don’t want to get any puke on my de la Renta!”), where’s Dick and Lynne’s daughter?

Cheyne’s lesbian daughter is running her Dad’s campaign, despite his support of the FMA. Sad.

Puff pieces on celebrities are one thing but for a magazine to so openly politically shill is quite another. I was surprised to find, in this inane and air-brushed view of the twins, that both intend to do charitable;/public service work despite never having shown any interest before (Barbara has spent several summers working for fashion designers and was previously open about wanting to work in fashion). Of course, the operative word in this view of their future is “plan”; let’s see what they really do, come November.
What truly amazes me is that Vogue would put forth these two hard partying (and former law breaking) girls as role models when Kerry’s two daughters (one a med student, the other an accomplished filmmaker) serve as such betters ones. The choice between profiling artist/professionals versus budding alcoholics seems an obvious one to me – I guess the folks at Vogue are not so astute.

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