Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statecraft gets as much space in print, and on smart devices, as his image-craft. But then, you expect nothing less from the man who one-upped the FLOTUS in fashion terms when she came visiting India in January this year. Michelle Obama had just the right colours and silhouettes in her travelling bag. What she didn’t have was a suit with her name embossed over it..
So, when our man went to the US and worked his charm on everybody from Mark Zuckerbeg to Elon Musk, he didn’t forget his power ensembles behind. In fact, he packed so many of them we saw him in four different outfits in a day. He started his day at Tesla Motors with an East-meets-West look of blue shirt, khakis and an ivory waistcoat. The v-neck made it stand apart from your standard Nehru jacket. That blue pocket square added just the hint of a world leader who is comfortable visiting leading tech campuses in the world but is still Indian at heart.
From there to Digital India dinner, Modi must have felt the occasion called for a formal dress. A light brown bandhgala was what he wore when he met the CEOs of major tech giants – Sundar Pichai of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, John Chambers of Cisco and Shantanu Narayan of Adobe. Modi’s brown attire contrasted beautifully with the regimental deep blues and blacks of the tech heads.
Pichai met the PM again in the evening. The Google CEO’s tie was off by then, Modi had a completely new outfit on. It was a black trousers and a cream shirt ensemble with a black Nehru jacket left casually open. Did you miss those cufflinks? Well, our PM does understand that you cannot emphasise enough on the importance of accessories.
This is also the ensemble in which he attended the Facebook Townhall. While the normally dressed down Zuckerberg was wearing a suit and tie (formals was what you were expected to wear), Modi’s chic attire was all business, yet casual. His emotional outburst while talking about his mother there may have won the hearts, his attire definitely won the fashion sweepstakes.
When meeting Indians, dress like an Indian neta. The PM kept to the standard white kurta-churidar with brown Nehru jacket at the SAP Centre while meeting the Indian community. The NRIs gave him a welcome fit for a Bollywood star and if he keeps up his frequent dress changes, the fashion community back home will do the same.