The Corner

Europe’s Macho America Fascination–Bush Chic

The shock-and-awe campaign has had an effect far beyond the dust bowl of Iraq. Europe, at first only shocked, has belatedly betrayed its awe of American power in that most European of ways: on the runway. The gods of the fashion empyrean who gathered recently in Milan, London, and Paris seemed to be working out their fear and loathing of George Bush on the one hand, and their enduring fascination with the rough-and-tumble, cowboyish ways he represents on the other. Gucci put their men in broad-brimmed cowboy hats, blue jeans, and boots. (This from the fashion house whose creative director, a Texan, said in February, “I’m embarrassed to be an American.”) Jean-Paul Gaultier introduced a Wild West waistcoat. Designer Marc Jacobs harkened back to double-breasted, 1980s Wall Street, putting his models in clean-cut suits. Models in tennis whites strutted Louis Vuitton’s stuff-another homage aux Eighties. Have they, too, drawn the connection between W. and the Gipper? Sure, fashion is evanescent. Still, we can add “Bush chic” to those other cultural artifacts of the conflicted European psyche.

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