Samantha Cameron: Style Evolution

SamCam demonstrated her fun fashion side this week as she donned a red hair wig and baked cakes in effort of Comic Relief. With her assisting children, she sold her goodies to members of staff at 10 Downing Street, wearing a simple Comic Relief logo t-shirt, and Ralph Lauren jeans.

Samantha is a regular face on the front of charity events such as Comic Relief, and makes an effort to not appear too ‘glitzy’ for the cause. Despite my political bias, I do believe SamCam holds a strong, unique identity that really helps to maintain the ‘we Brits know how to dress’ reputation.

Let’s have a look back at the changing faces of Mrs Cameron, because the best way to analyse style is to see multiple examples, back-to-back.

Here’s a selection of my favourite Sam looks, with a couple of, may I say, awful choices thrown in for the cause of vanity!

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Back in 2003, where Sam’s fashion journey begins. This piece by MaxMara is a poor choice – the colour doesn’t enhance her colour palette and the cut is unsuitable for Sam’s athletic figure. But, we must start somewhere.

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Dressing to suit David, the pair take a recreational day in London. Samantha teams cropped Jaeger trousers with a smart jacket and Zara pumps.

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Again, not a good choice for Samantha. Taken in 2004, this monochrome combination unleashes her inner Headmistress, but not in a fetish manner. Better things are yet to come.

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Looking stunning in a drape front Vivienne Westwood dress and Rupert Sanderson heels. Taken in 2009, her style is much more evolved as she proudly shows off her prize for accessories designer of the year for luxury brand, Smythson at the annual Glamour Awards.

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A classic smart/casual look for the couple as they attend the 10th Anniversary showing of the Lion King at London’s Lyceum Theatre. How sweet. Samantha wears J Crew jeans with a bright red scarf to accent the look.

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Opting for an Erdem print dress, Sam attends Fashion’s Night Out at Burberry, 2010. This cut suits her athletic figure perfectly, and is a suitable length to acquire sexiness and suitability.

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Looking refreshingly youthful and stylish, Samantha teams a silk Burberry tunic dress with Wolford tights and heels, Burberry S/S 2010 show. This is my favourite look yet. What do you think?

Sam continues her high street streak with this whimsical polka dot dress courtesy of Marks and Spencer. Sam had to belt Samantha-Cameron-19and tape this size 14 dress to fit her toned size 10 body – still looks fantastic though. Worn to the 2010 annual Conservative Conference.

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‘We’re Expecting!’ Sam wears a Joseph shift dress when announcing her good news, 2010.

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Emilia Wickstead designed this dress that Sam originally wore to celebrate David winning the election. She continued to wear it throughout the pregnancy, and said the draping style ‘allowed plenty of room to grow.’ Taken in 2010.

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As the bump grows, Samantha makes the decision to avoid ‘sack-like dresses’ and proudly declare her curves. This Emilia Wickstead dress flatters and compliments her skin tone. The designer is now officially Sam’s favourite pregnancy designer.

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During a last holiday before Sam’s fourth child is born, David enjoys Sam in a casual maxi dress. I like this look – it shows a very different side to the couple and presents them as real people. Taken September 2010.

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Despite being my favourite look of my collection, this dress sparked a huge debate. Costing £748, critics accused Samantha of going against her ‘I’m a down-to-earth, Marks and Spencer wearing wife’ to own beautiful clothes and materials costing ‘36.8 first-child benefit payments.’ The dress is by Paul Smith (A/w 2011) I absolutely love the elegance, shape and tone of this dress, what about you?

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Sam cinches her tiny tummy and adorns this modest, demure black piece by Osman Yousefzada at the 2010 British Fashion Awards. Since dresses have been shorter, and in bright colours. Should she return to the classic black?

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Ah, the famous Royal Wedding Outfit. Samantha looks absolutely gorgeous in this iconic Burberry ruched dress. Why all the negative response from her hair piece? She mastered colour blocking to a sophisticated ‘T’! So much so that the bride, Kate Middleton reportedly asked to borrow her ensemble for later occasions.

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I wanted to include a last photo of SamCam with a fellow First Lady, Michelle Obama. Taken in 2012, Samantha opts for a typically British Joules dress, while Michelle stands out in bright violet and royal blue.

All images courtesy of Rex Features, 2013.

By her Majesty’s Appointment: The Corgi

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The Queen at her desk in 1959 at the Palace, London. Courtesy of ‘Britain: Today’

 This week, an event has prompted me to consider the importance of the canine to our Royal Family. The event of course, is Crufts. (www.crufts.org.uk)

Patriotic and fun, Crufts inspires thousands each year to take the plunge and invite a dog into their world.

 Compact, sturdy and loyal, the Corgi was integrated into Royal Family life in 1933, when King George VI gave his daughter Elizabeth a Corgi, Dookie, for her 14th birthday. 70 years later, the Queen has owned over 30 Corgis and currently homes Willow and Holly, along with two cross-breed Dorgis, Candy and Vulcan.

Willow and Holly are a national treasure, despite their alleged naughtiness and refusal to co-operate with daily duties. They’ve starred aside James Bond at the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, and even have their own stained-glass window in the Chapel of the Savoy, London. Flashy!

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Queen Elizabeth II and her companions. Courtesy of ‘The Guardian’

But how have we come to associate the Corgi with iconic British Royal style?

Since 1942, Corgis have featured in all Royal portraits. 20 years ago, two private suites were added to the Queen’s private jet for her companions, so they might travel abroad with her on official errands.

But perhaps most importantly, as part of the ‘Jubilee hype’ of 2012, the popularity of Corgis in Britain has surged,  as well as production of British memorabilia mugs, flags and key rings – all starring the Corgi.

Jane Bromford breeds various show dogs including the Corgi, of which seven have participated in Crufts. She says, “The Corgi is vital to the Royal image because they are traditional hunting dogs, and would accompany generations of Royals on their recreational hunting trips. From then, the dog has gradually become part of the home, and has adapted to travel with Royalty.” (10/3/13)

The Corgi is becoming as iconic to Royal aesthetic style as the Princess Coat or the Top Hat.

Long live the Corgi!

Obama and Photoshop: A wise combination?

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Naeem Khan’s design worn by Michelle Obama to present during the Oscars 2013. Courtesy of Getty/Fars.

Decadence was alive at this year’s Oscars Award Ceremony. The usual batch of A-list celebrities attended, as well as newbie Michelle Obama. Her dress didn’t receive such a positive welcome though, as it was later photoshopped by the Iranian media.

It was Michelle’s present at the Oscars and chose the award for ‘Best Picture’. She delivered her speech in a silver sequin-detail dress by Indian-born designer, Naeem Khan. (www.naeemkhan.com to see full S/S13 collection)

Despite Michelle’s inability to be present on the night, the Hollywood fashion scene praised her choice of dress, naming it: “Another unique and understated dress.” (Anna Wintour, 24.02.13)

Critics from the Middle East were not so favourable. Hours later, Iranian media channel, ‘Fars’ photoshopped Michelle’s dress before broadcast consent. In order to convey with traditional Iranian ideals on female identity, Michelle’s dress was re-vamped to include material that covered the arms, shoulders and décolletage.

Iran is a country in mid-transition. While Iranian women must wear a hijab on television, appearances of Western celebrities are tolerated wearing a little less. It’s now evident however, that many women are making a shift towards American fashion and broadening their ‘sexual boundaries’.

Raha Karimi, a young Iranian national told me: “I’m proudly part of a new generation of Iranian females. Although respectful of my culture, I feel it’s important for our women to move in to the present and adopt a wider variety of identities.” (01/02/13) Would these pseudo-revolutionary women find it offensive that a dress worn in public by a leading political figure has been changed for their warped viewing? I imagine some women may find this an insult against their plight, as well as the designer.

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The original and photoshopped dress worn to present ‘Best Picture’. Courtesy of Getty/Fars

I wonder: what would Naeem Khan’s reaction be to seeing his design largely edited by a foreign state? He is noted to dress First Ladies, and Michelle Obama is a regular client. He retains copyright over his designs, and would be particularly proud of one which is featured within a globally-broadcast awards ceremony. I’d like to question whether it’s in fact legal to transform the look of a design without consent.

I would love to hear your opinions and reactions to this event. Are you in favour of the editing? Do you feel that Michelle has a responsibility to respect all cultures during a public appearance? Or do you feel it was rude, or unnecessary? Do let me know your views, and keep the fashion debate alive!