Pablo Iglesias had been without public appearances for days until the press conference of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday where he appeared -with the spokesperson and Minister of Finance, Maria Jesus Montero, through- together with Vice President of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calvino. In other words, the two ideological poles of the Pedro Sanchez government. An important distance in the way of understanding the politics that is glimpsed in the photo itself, beyond the more than two meters that separated them: while Iglesias dressed in a bland gray suit that had swallowed the cuffs and part of the neck of a Calvino shirt without starch, showed off the outfit she is used to: blazer jacket, blouse and pants. The official look of women, that like the masculine suit that became fashionable between the seventies and eighties, time when women began to join power and male jobs, as the field of finance, banking or politics and it was called ‘power dressing’.
The Podemos leader and second vice-president of the Government took advantage of the press conference to recall what he had already stated on previous occasions, later in press interviews or through his social networks, and which refers to article 128 of the Constitution, which establishes that “all the wealth of the country in its different forms and whatever its ownership is subordinated to the general interest”, allows the Government “to request sacrifices from some individuals” to guarantee that this general interest is fulfilled in the fight against the coronavirus, Iglesias said in an interview on Telecinco. A hypothetical scenario that has, however, the Minister of Economic Affairs as the main opposition figure, despite the fact that in previous battles he did not manage to take into account his reservations regarding the closure of the country’s activity decreed last Sunday. In other words, Calvino and Iglesias are the two sides of the same coin in political action, communication and image.
In the style of Nadia Calvino If a few days ago it was concluded that Yolanda Diaz, Minister of Labor, was the one who best dressed the Executive, Calvino is the one that best represents the aesthetic culture of power dressing. Thus, it is common to see it with outfits similar to what would be the male suit or directly a female suit. Blazers, patterned blouses, and cloth pants are the uniform of the Foreign Minister. A style that is always a success for the work spheres that Calvino settles and, therefore, that does not require answering the question: What should I wear today?
This style is typical of European politics and businesswomen. A serious and appropriate way of dressing that is repeated in other policies such as Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany or Theresa May, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. And also, in such relevant figures in the economy as Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank, or Ana Patricia Botin, President of Banco Santander.
However, as a critic of Calvinos style, which Lagarde also commits, is that he abuses color, too classic and patterned blouses and pearls, a basic of the feminine jeweler but that can age. In this sense, aesthetic references are Angela Merker, if the objective is simplicity so that no one notices what you wear, or Theresa May, who wore elegant and sophisticated suit-jacket and an original and wide collection of shoes.
The woman in costume
The female suit is a trend that is back, and this is demonstrated by the latest Ralph Lauren or Mango collections. A fashion that empowers the person who wears it, whether it is a man or a woman, that contributes elegance, does not sexualize and even contributes modernity. However, it should be said that it is a feminine wardrobe item that was the norm for women’s clothing during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. In fact, the suit with skirt was the most used among women of middle and upper social class and who, in addition, were the ones who dared to take off their skirt and wear pants. A controversial custom, but it was generalized during the Second World War, at which time some women began to wear pants or jumpsuits to assume, with greater comfort, more practical jobs in factories.
Lucia Serrano, from Serna Tailoring. Photo: Ana Morales
The designer Coco Chanel had a lot to do with this use of women’s pants in the first half of the 20th century. However, the use of this garment by women was not well seen until it reached its greatest diffusion in the 1960s. In fact, it was in 1966, when Yves Saint Laurent presented Le Smoking, an elegant evening pantsuit. A milestone in fashion history that maintains its legacy today.
The time when the female suit acquired a more political nuance was in the seventies and eighties, a time when women began to enter power and male jobs, such as the field of finance, banking or politics. And it was in the 2000s when it began to acquire a more classic and stale nuance. Perhaps the boom in fast-fashion and faster and easier access to different trends and styles relegated the suit, a more timeless piece of clothing, to the background.
Fortunately, the suit is back and at a time, moreover, when the feminist movement is stronger than ever and which aims to give women the share of power they deserve, 50 percent. A good suit, although it is sometimes less important to fashion, can be of great help in achieving these goals.
Nadia Calvinos career and training
Born in A Coruna, Calvino (1978) is the daughter of Jose Maria Calvino, who was general director of RTVE between 1982 and 1986, and has a degree in Economics from the Complutense University of Madrid and in Law from UNED, and belongs to the Corps of Commercial Technicians and State Economists.
Calvino already held positions of responsibility in the Ministry of Economy, since she was general director of Defense of Competition, dependent on the economic department, between May 2004 and August 2006, during the mandate of Pedro Solbes and at a time when Endesas takeover bid was current. And in Brussels, she was deputy director of Competition from September 2006 to October 2010, a position she left to occupy until April 2014 the position of deputy director of Internal Market and Services. From May 2014 to the present, she was the Director General of Budgets for the European Commission.
In addition to the above, Calvino held between 1994 and 1996 the position of head of service in the Directorate of Analysis of Market and Price Work in the General Directorate of Forecast and Conjuncture, and between 1998 and 1998 she was deputy director of Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasts in the General Directorate for Economic Policy and Defense of Competition. And between 1999 and 2000 she was head of the Cabinet of the director general of Commercial Policy and Foreign Investment of the Secretary of State for Trade and Tourism.
In the Competition Defense Service of the Ministry of Economy, she was Deputy General Director of Legal Affairs and Institutional Relations between 2000 and 2001, and between 2001 and May 2004 Deputy General Director of Concentrations, until in May 2014 she was appointed General Director of Defense of Competition, until 2006.