Aside from the obvious potential for relationship-building and awkward politicians-on-the-beach photoshoots, the G7 Summit is an opportunity for attendees to exert a softer power, and communicate something important through their clothes.
It’s typically a moment for sartorial diplomacy, in which guests often choose to celebrate the host country by donning something by a local designer. Michelle Obama, for example, arrived at the G8 summit in Belfast in 2013 wearing a corseted trench coat from London export Burberry — a gesture of recognition and celebration of British fashion.
This weekend, however, attendees largely swerved such sartorial friendliness in favour of championing their own home-grown brands, which is totally fine, but why did so many of the women stick to a disappointingly regressive uniform of pink or red dresses and heels?
Carrie Johnson arrived at the event on Thursday wearing a bright red pussybow-neck LK Bennett dress with matching red bow-embellished Zara heels — a look very similar to that worn by the Duchess of Cambridge the next day, who donned a belted magenta Alexander McQueen dress with nude pumps to meet with Dr Jill Biden, who turned up in a fuchsia blazer from LA label L’Agence over a white shift dress, pearls and nude Valentino pumps. So far, so Barbie.
Fast-forward to Saturday and Mrs Johnson opted for a retina-searing pink midi dress from UK label Roksanda, just one of the many looks she rented for the weekend, while Dr Biden wore a scarlet dress from Brandon Maxwell with matching red court shoes. The outfits were all so similar she could probably have saved on luggage and borrowed Carrie’s outfit from the day before.
The only time any of the women tiptoed into a trouser was on Sunday, when Carrie wore an electric blue suit from London label Amanda Wakeley, again another rented piece, for her strongest look of the weekend.
Needless to say, Angela Merkel wasn’t tempted by the cupcake-sweet aesthetic, and nor was Brigitte Macron, who stuck to her wonderfully chic and expensive wardrobe of luxury French labels, which majored in floaty cream blouses, monogram-print Louis Vuitton dresses and white Chanel jackets. Magnifique.
Now don’t get me wrong, if a woman wants to wear a pink dress on a hot, sunny day that is very much kosher, and Jill’s decision to wear a jacket with the message of Love on the back was a powerful one, as was environmentalist Carrie’s decision to stick to an almost entirely rented wardrobe.
But at an event which is already striking in its gender imbalance, with just one of the seven national leaders in attendance a woman, wouldn’t it have been cool if the political Wags had dressed a little less, well, Wagish?