Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Orange prize longlist

This is not supposed to be released until tomorrow, but has been leaked by the Telegraph after the site accidentally went live on Thursday for 20 minutes.

I can disclose that the longlist for the £30,000 award for women writers includes heavyweights such as Anne Enright, for her Booker Prize-winning novel The Gathering, and Rose Tremain, for The Road Home. Others listed are When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson; The Room of Lost Things by Stella Duffy; The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant; and In the Dark by Deborah Moggach

Hillary's clothes

Hadley Freeman has thought about Hillary and her clothes.

It is obvious to the point of cliche that Clinton is in a trickier position in many ways than Obama: when he is emotional, he is persuasive; when she is emotional, she is betraying her feminist roots. So just as Obama can cut a dash in his slimline, clearly style-conscious suits, Clinton has to hide herself in garishly coloured squares going under the name of "jackets", or else risk being dismissed as so vain that she would be too busy putting on her lipstick to respond to an international terror threat.

But is this necessarily true? One need only look at Condoleezza Rice to see that, contrary to what some might think, American voters aren't always horrified to see a woman in power who doesn't look like Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rice has to placate a far more conservative group of people than the one Clinton is meant to be wooing. Nor did Rice's appearance several years ago in US Vogue seem to harm her credibility. Clinton, on the other hand, was so fearful of such a possibility that she backed out of a shoot with the magazine at the last minute last year, provoking a diatribe from Vogue's editor, Anna Wintour. To make matters even worse for Clinton, who should appear that same month on the cover of Men's Vogue but Obama, appearing very suave and relaxed, whereas Clinton now looked as if she was neurotically focus grouping her campaign to death.

I declare myself to be in the deepest sympathy with any female politician at the receiving end of the mad-dog media about her dress sense. I work in an occupation in which I have little visible public profile, apart from book tours and readings, and my fashion mistakes are not dissected by strangers on a daily basis. I would also point out that Rice cuts a better fashion figure than Clinton because, simply, Rice has a better figure. Hillary has awful legs, she's short, she's stocky. No beanpole myself, I understand how difficult it is to dress this shape. Suits don't suit her.

Thought for the day

Clothes without a wearer, whether on a secondhand stall, in a glass case, or merely a lover's garments strewn on the floor, can affect us unpleasantly, as if a snake had shed its skin. Similarly, a pregnant woman describing how the little frock hanging up in readiness for her as yet unborn child seems like 'a ghost in reverse.' Elizabeth Wilson