A four-story house located a discreet distance from Neuer Wall, Hamburg’s luxury designer district, holds the secrets to Angela Merkel’s successful sartorial style.
Except that fashion designer Bettina Schoenbach, who has her studio here on ABC Strasse, has taken a vow of silence on her association with Merkel, who became her client after winning the 2005 election.
On its website, Schoenbach describes its philosophy. “Style is the expression of personal choices that are repeated over and over again,” she says, adding that she is “dedicated to helping clients take strategic control of their image.” This is a remark that could have come straight out of the lexicon of the pragmatist Merkel. Thanks to Schoenbach, Merkel has been able, throughout her chancellery, which is coming to an end, to open her wardrobe daily and assemble her outfit in two or three flicks of the wrist: the dream of more than one working woman.
The designer doesn’t speak to the media, but that’s probably how she kept her role as the designer of Merkel’s iconic ‘uniform’, as it’s often called: a dark colored jacket and wide pants, matched with a necklace, black flats and a spacious Longchamp bag.
Merkel left in an attempt to avoid drawing attention to her outward appearance, and the branded blazer did the job, much like a doctor’s white coat. It is now synonymous with his political style: concrete, constant, no frills, but never dull. With a bell shape, to suit what the late Karl Lagerfeld once called its “special proportions”, the blazer typically has three or four buttons, always closed, and a round neckline, leaving room for the collar. Sometimes with a collar and lapel, or pockets, sometimes without, Merkel is said to have accumulated several hundred jackets over the years, in linen, silk, velvet and wool, mostly in Italian fabric, according to the German fashion press. They came in every shade of the rainbow, from soft pastels to blazing purples and oranges, and were designed for every season and occasion – duller colors such as white and beige would have been reserved. to less spectacular meetings with business leaders in dark suits. Lavender, it has been suggested, was worn before difficult meetings, perhaps with the intention of contributing to a relaxed atmosphere.
In one of the few remarks she made about her style, Merkel told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015: “There are occasions when I have to wear dark colors, and then sometimes I am informed that I will be standing in front. a background, and for this the blazer must have a lighter color. And sometimes I’m just in the mood to wear something bright and colorful.
She rarely wore patterns and the dresses were only seen when she made her annual trip to the Bayreuth Opera House. The headlines that followed her appearance in 2008, when she wore a low-cut taffeta dress to the opening of the Oslo Opera House, allegedly irritated her so much that she never repeated the experience. His spokesperson was confronted the next morning with the question of who had designed the distinctive creation, to which he replied that it was a “new composition of his existing wardrobe” (it was designed by Anna von Griesheim). During a televised debate in 2013, she wore a necklace in the colors of the German flag, which sparked such a heated debate over the expression of national pride that she was never seen wearing it again.
Like her wardrobe before Schoenbach’s arrival, Merkel’s apparent lack of interest in her hair also drew contemptuous remarks early on, until a famous Berlin hairstylist taught her how to dry it, prompting the august Frankfurter Allgemeine to reveal the news that “Merkel doesn’t let her hair dry naturally; she dries it.” It wasn’t the first time that a Chancellor’s hair made the headlines. Merkel’s predecessor , Gerhard Schröder, dyed his own, dared to suggest a medium, triggering legal action against him and the forced withdrawal of the claim.
“I like the fact that she has a recognizable style,” Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of US Vogue recently told German media. “She strikes me as someone who knows who she is. I don’t feel like she’s trying to disguise herself.