Anne Hidalgo’s look without shine or smudges: between being and appearing

The mayor of Paris, a presidential candidate, has turned her very conventional appearance into a gateway to her privacy.

Brushed Square Fitted Blazer: At first glance, Anne Hidalgo’s uniform is a stereotype of the female politician. A look chosen so as not to stand out, a form of erasure to leave room for the ‘content’ of his speeches. In the countryside, as in the town hall of Paris, his essentials are as follows: straight trousers, a navy blue, black or greige jacket over a white top, paired with a pair of ankle boots or low heels that elevate his sixty meters to height three. “She knows all the codes that keep us from talking about her clothes,” said Sophie Lemahieu, author of dress in politics † It must be said that Anne Hidalgo, daughter of a seamstress, is no stranger to the subject.

However, it would be wrong to reduce the Hidalgo style to the multi-purpose suit. “There are only two functions where fantasy is tolerated among female politicians: the ministry of culture and the local mandate,” the author asks. Anne Hidalgo, mayor of a cultural capital, points out two specific cases.

The flawless look of Anne Hidalgo

Neither ordinary nor extraordinary

Impossible to miss the farandole of scarves with floral motifs, Aztec, red, blue or bright pink that regularly accentuate the outfits of the chosen one. The black leather jacket and, in summer, the printed dresses replace his perpetual blazer, but only in certain circumstances, “on the floor, where his dynamism is clearly visible,” specifies Sophie Lemahieu.

But for Jamil Dakhlia, researcher in communications and politics and director of the University of the Sorbonne Nouvelle, there is “no extraordinary fantasy” in her appearance: “For female politicians, appearance is complicated. There are gender rules: you should not look like a man , also not too much like a woman. Every fantasy gives rise to ridicule.” An observation that Anne Hidalgo has already shared openly, even though she knows how to bow expertly to the exercise.

More of a woman of words than a woman of fashion

In the female political landscape, Anne Hidalgo was one of the first to publicly put her finger on the importance of her appearance. In 2014, she agreed to borrow pieces from her wardrobe for the exhibition Women’s Fashion Power in London, stressing in her inaugural address that “the clothes you wear, especially if you’re a woman in political life, is undoubtedly the first message you send to the people you meet, even if they don’t hear you speak.” It’s what you represent, what you radiate.”

Anne Hidalgo opens the exhibition Women Fashion Power at the Design Museum in London. (October 28, 2014) abaca

While her colleagues willingly evade the subject of their appearance, Anne Hidalgo assumes that [sa] difference”: “I don’t want to pass for someone else. I like to work, but also to be beautiful,” she argued in 2013, when she opposed the other candidates for mayor of Paris. “A good point, strategically,” comments Sophie Lemahieu, recalling Anne Hidalgo’s pivotal position at the head of the fashion capital.

“Take care of your appearance is respecting people”

Failing to support emerging creators through clothing, the mayor of Paris positions herself as someone stylish and sensitive to the subject. “I am fascinated by fashion. (…) I’m not really sure what it means to be fashionable, I’m mainly looking for outfits that make me feel good. (…) I like clean, clear lines.” she confided Madame Figaro in a joint interview with Ralph Toledano, President of the French Couture Federation in 2016. And to justify this appetite with his personal story.

Coming from a line of seamstresses, Anne Hidalgo has inherited a fondness for clothing and does not remember it. Dexterous with the needle, she wouldn’t hesitate to sew on a button, even in the middle of a town hall meeting. “By referring to her mother, she also indicates her humble origins,” analyzes researcher Jamil Dakhlia. “Take care of your appearance is respecting people” we hear the candidate say. “It’s a speech we also heard from Rachida Dati: she presents her sense of appearance as a form of respect for others, inherited from her working-class background, and not a useless concern.” he continues.

White shirt and Chopard necklace, for her official campaign poster, Anne Hidalgo bet on the blueprint. (2022.) Hidalgo!2022

Gri-gri and storytelling

“In the field of political communication, it is interesting to explain your choices with a story,” emphasizes Jamil Dakhlia. Demonstration with the jewel. Very focused on “gri-gri” Anne Hidalgo never part with her Chopard Happy Diamonds necklace, a model that is already twenty years old. The Mayor of Paris entrusted to Gala his story: it is a gift he received at the birth of his last child, Arthur Germain. Again a family affair and part of life shared willingly. “Impossible to know if it’s calculated or not, but it’s going pretty well, it makes sense and she knows how to explain it,” notes the sociologist.

For Jamil Dakhlia: “Voters are looking for consistency. If she wants to cultivate her stable as a left-wing woman, don’t go into luxury. Faithful to the end of the hem, Anne Hidalgo has entrusted her figure to the Apostrophe brand for years: a high-end but discreet address, a stone’s throw from the famous luxury brands of Avenue Montaigne. Since 1968 and for the third generation, the Hazan family offers carefully timeless collections, made in Paris. The chosen one praises their straight trousers and jackets with a straight cut. The brand’s slogan? “She is, she does not appear.” CQFD.

*Published by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in collaboration with the École du Louvre, 160 pages, 35 euros.

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