NOWNESS commissioning director Raven Smith talks us through his Instagram devotion to #Hillary2016 and her plethora of pantsuits
A few weeks ago, Vanessa Friedman announced in the New York Times that "We live in the era of the Merkelization of female political dress, which has seen women like Ms. Merkel, the German chancellor, and Hillary Rodham Clinton adopt what is effectively the male uniform in softer, brighter colors to remove the topic from the conversation. (It’s a pantsuit. It’s a beige/orange/teal pantsuit. Enough said.)" But for Raven Smith, commissioning director at NOWNESS, the wardrobe of self-declared "hair icon, pantsuit aficionado" Hillary Clinton is a rainbow of delight, inspiring a devotion beyond the political. With his adulation clearly documented through his Instagram feed, we spoke to him to find out what he loves about Hillary, and what Instagram means to the commissioning director of a digital platform.
Do you consciously curate your feed?
Yes, of course. I’ve been doing it forever on my tumblr but more people are on instagram so more people notice. I stockpile images like a squirrel before winter and then I post them when they feel relevant to what I’m doing. Some are spontaneous, some are planned. Like kids.
How do you think Instagram has impacted culture?
Now, Instagram is our window to the world; it’s where I see things firsthand. It’s a curse too – sometimes I have to give custody of my phone to my boyfriend.
What three words would you use to describe Hillary Clinton?
Never knowingly underdressed.
Why do you love her?
She and Bill and Monica inevitably bled into my consciousness as a kid. They signify something major in the cultural landscape of the American psyche, but also a very basic truth: your dick can get you in a whole bunch of trouble. It's a modern fable of sorts.
What does her style say to you?
Being in the public eye in the early '90s was pretty hardcore – nobody was spared – but Hillary styled out the synthetics. There's something deeply forgettable about all of her clothes, which is why I like to post these reminders. I love the idea of her sliding into a merlot pantsuit. It’s anti-glamorous and hyper-practical; there's not a hint of emotion. And her approach to colour is mesmerising. She's the Skittles of fashion: wear the rainbow.
Why do you want her to be president?
I’m not sure I do. My attraction to her isn’t political, per se. But I’m very, very interested in powerful women and their representation. The idea of a ‘first lady’ is archaic – Michelle Obama is a lawyer – and I’m intrigued as Hillary continues to mutate the first lady ideal. Her image is a massive part of that.
What are your favourite images of Hillary?
This 'intimate' moment with Bill (above). It was taken just days before the shit hit the fan. I don't know if I'd rather be her or him at this point.
Why do you think she doesn’t have an Instagram when she has a Twitter?
Pushing a political agenda on Instagram is pretty dry. The White House Vine keeps trying to force-feed me vegetables. Unfollow.