Opinion: Does Emmanuel Macron’s dad hoodie make him more heroic?
The French president ditched his trademark suits for something more casual, but it's all part of his election campaign, says Alfred Tong
Thursday 17 March 2022 By Alfred Tong
You know what they say: cometh moment, cometh the hoodie. OK, obviously, no one says that. But how else to explain President Macron’s appearance in a hoodie featuring the logo of the French Air Parachute Commando No 10 regiment in a staged photo op in the Elysée Palace? Accessorised with stubble and black jeans, this is weaponised #merch designed to imbue the wearer with a bit of that Zelensky hero dad vibe, and hopefully help Macron win a presidential election in the process.
Crucially, there’s one detail awry in what is an otherwise perfectly executed example of wartime leader cosplay. In one of the photographs, he wears a Cartier Trinity ring, made up of three interlocking gold bands. The last time we checked, Cartier does not provide accoutrement for the French armed services. The ring betrays Macron’s true background as a former Rothschild banker, graduate of the elite ENA school for civil servants, and the only French president to have not served in the army (he was too busy studying).
Still, we can’t blame him. We’re all at it. The men’s luxury goods industry spends billions of dollars attaching products to heroes. Watch companies, for instance, have always wanted their work on the wrists of explorers, soldiers, sportsmen and astronauts, because we men are silly enough to believe that somehow a bit of that magic will rub off on us.
I’ve always found it hilarious that an ex-girlfriend’s father, a retired RAF officer, and a man with a legitimate professional reason to wear a chronograph, wears a bog-standard quartz watch, which he cheerfully told me glows in the dark. Apparently, there’s a proper pilot’s watch knocking about in the house somewhere, but the point is real heroes have medals, not watches (or hoodies) for proof.
Leave the status-signalling to us civilians or presidents, but don’t knock it. Men’s fashion often works in a totemic way. Just as peering down at your Omega Speedmaster might give you a little boost of confidence before a big meeting, perhaps Macron’s hoodie is a signal that he’s ready to push the EU into providing actual military support to Ukraine. At the very least, it’s a sign of cute fandom for President Zelensky, a feeling that men all over the world can relate to right now. Sometimes, the #merch really can meet the moment.