That! Is! A! Disgrace!
At the beginning of the month, Anna Wintour published a profile of Olena Zelensky as part of Vogue’s first ever digital cover. In a glossy spread shot by Annie Liebowitz, the Ukrainian First Lady stares into the middle distance, clutching a navy coat to her chest while the wreckage of an aircraft smoulders behind her. Flanked by sandbags and soldiers in military fatigues, it was a courageous portrait of a woman at the coalface of disaster. And for those of us in the UK, those images kindled a similar sense of pride, reminiscent of when Liz Truss took to the plinth at a Tory conference, speaking truth to power. “We import two thirds of our cheese,” she declared, pausing a while to fix her face into a matronly scowl. “That. Is. A. Disgrace!!!!”
Since then, Truss, who is competing to become the next leader of the Conservatives, has gone around the UK, making cheap-thrill policies a cornerstone of her politics. Kill the solar farms! Kill taxes! Kill everyone now! But what she really, really wants is to be in Vogue. Speaking at an Edinburgh Fringe event last night, Nicola Sturgeon claimed that Truss had grilled her on how she managed to get featured in the fashion magazine when they met at Cop26 last year... which is a fairly accurate reflection of Truss’ interest in the climate crisis.
“I remember it quite well actually,” Sturgeon told the audience. “I had just done, and this is going to sound really up myself but I don’t mean to… I’d just been interviewed by Vogue, as you do… that was the main thing she wanted to talk to me about, she wanted to know how she could ‘get into Vogue’.” Only, when the First Minister of Scotland said that she had been approached twice by the magazine, Truss “looked a little bit as if she’d swallowed a wasp”. “I remember it because there we were at the world’s biggest climate change conference in Glasgow, world leaders about to arrive. That was the main topic of conversation she was interested in pursuing. And once we’d exhausted that it kind of dried up,” Sturgeon continued, calling Truss “an attention seeker”.
It wouldn’t be long before Truss got her close-up, though, taking centre-stage in a recent issue of The Sunday Times like she had won a competition to be styled by Nicky Hambleton-Jones in an episode of Ten Years Younger. All boxy, block-coloured suits, sensible heels, and textured curls. It wasn’t the first time that Truss has looked to fashion to flag some kind of status, either. Earlier this month she made a desperate attempt to curry favour with the proletariat by wearing £4.50 earrings from Claire’s Accessories – lest we forget just how noble and ordinary she is! But, like so many of her public endeavours, it just came off as embarrassing.