It had to be a conference presidential press like the others, a few figures to share, a few thoughts to deliver, in the East Room of the White House, and then curtain. But no. On August 6, Joe Biden appeared before the American media dressed in an original beige suit, taking both a sartorial and political risk. Because the last time an American president had displayed himself thus dressed, a controversy had erupted. It was Barack Obama, in 2014. Many members of the Republican Party had criticized him for“Damage the presidential office”. No more no less.
False step in Richelieu
For our part, we will content ourselves with expressing purely stylistic reservations. So, how not to be surprised by the choice of a three-button suit rather than a more modern two-button model? Likewise, how not to notice that a sky blue shirt would have been, here, much more elegant than a white shirt? Finally, above all, how not to regret the choice of this pair of brown Richelieu, much less appropriate, in such circumstances, than a black pair? The presidential function seems to us, in spite of everything, to be perfectly intact.
Since we’re talking about shoes, let’s take a moment to look at the carpet trodden by Joe Biden. Commissioned in 1990 by Barbara Bush to protect the oak floors of the East Room, and installed five years later during renovations to the room undertaken under the Clintons, this rug was inspired by the moldings on the ceiling. Made by New York weaver Edward Fields Inc, it was billed at the time for $ 259,330 at the White House. Paying such a sum required appealing to private donors.
The White House accounts books being particularly detailed, we also know a lot about the golden silk curtains adorning the room, and their not insignificant price. Thus, their manufacture and installation in 2003 cost nearly $ 200,000. An addition there also regulated by private donors. Who were they? What did they get in return? On this point, the White House is less talkative, but we know that, under Kennedy in particular, the rich businessmen willingly used this financial resource to obtain an interview with the president …
The canvas and the model
Important room of the White House, which hosts press conferences but also official ceremonies, weddings or concerts (Mick Jagger in 2012), the East Room is decorated with many paintings, including the portrait of George Washington painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1797. The portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, dated 1903, is much less famous. But it has the merit of reminding us that black was for a long time the only possible color for the costumes of an American president. In this case, Roosevelt was getting his supplies from Brooks Brothers and no one else.