Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a sartorial stir on Monday when social media discovered his blue pinstripe suit at a meeting with US President Barack Obama was embroidered with his own name – over and over again.
Close-up photographs revealed the golden stripes in the wool bandhgala that he wore during bilateral talks with Obama at Hyderabad House on Sunday were not stripes at all but his full name, Narendra Damodardas Modi.
It wasn’t clear if his trusted label, Ahmedabad-based Jade Blue, was behind the design or Mumbai-based designer Troy Costa, famous for designing Modi’s ensemble for his US visit last year.
Modi fans on Twitter loved the look but political opponents jumped at the chance to take potshots at the Prime Minister.
“The levels of megalomania and narcissism are unparalleled ... it reveals a lot about the mindset of the man,” said Shehzad Poonawalla, a Congress supporter.
Designer Anand Bhushan called the PM’s fashion move a fresh take on branding. “Narendra Modi himself is clearly a bigger label than Gucci. Thus, he is wearing his own eponymous brand, with his name inscribed all over the outfit!”
Modi isn’t the first political leader to wear his name on his outfit. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is said to have worn a suit with his name stitched all over it.
Ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak had also worn a suit with his name embroidered on it.
The prime minister gave First Lady Michelle Obama some stiff sartorial competition throughout the US President’s visit: he received the Obamas at the Palam airbase on Sunday morning in a beige kurta and bright orange and changed his outfits through the day.
He also made quite a style statement during the Republic Day parade on Monday when he wore an elaborate tie-and-dye, or bandhni, turban with a formal black suit. The red, green and orange turban with white dots was hand-dyed using the bandhani technique that is practiced mostly in Rajasthan and Gujarat, the state Modi was the chief minister of for a decade before he became Prime Minister.
“The turban went with Modi’s colourful personality and, at the same time, reflected the fact he is grounded and rooted in tradition. Plus, it was a nice break from the regular cream-hued outfits our leaders usually wear for such occasions,” said designer Nida Mahmood.
Modi wore a similar turban during his Independence Day speech. “I admire his confidence and I loved the turban that he wore with incredible panache and style!” said designer Manish Malhotra. ?
Modi has long been known for his flair for fashion, especially his bespoke collection of sleeveless jackets and “Modified” versions of a kurta with short sleeves.
His fashion sense was even noticed by the US President who called 64-year-old Modi a style icon at the dinner banquet at Rashtrapati Bhavan, saying he would like to wear a “Modi kurta