Iran’s electoral elegance: the style evolution of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

President went from humble white jacket to tailored suits in journey from man of the people to man of the world

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ran for Iran’s presidential office in 2005, his distinctive white kapshan (jacket) became a trademark.

His supporters said it was a sign that the then mayor of Tehran was truly a man of the people; his critics complained he could be damaging the country’s image with bad fashion.

In his first years as president, Ahmadinejad continued to sport his familiar attire despite complaints.

However, as his position of power became more entrenched, his trademark kapshan became redundant as polyester windbreakers gave way to often oversized tailored suits.

The change did not go unnoticed. Mostafa Reza-Hosseini Ghotbabadi, a former MP, said: “Ahmadinejad’s characteristics have changed, his jackets are replaced with formal suits.”

With a hole under its left arm, the original white jacket was auctioned off two years ago and sold for the equivalent of £34,000.

As Iran braces itself for a six-week election frenzy, a nostalgic Ahmadinejad has once again returned to the kapshan look.

Although the 57-year-old cannot run for a third term, he has embarked on an extensive schedule of provincial visits, reportedly as part of a plan to groom his favoured candidate and chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, to be his successor.

Meanwhile in Tehran, he appears to be sticking with his suits. At the closing ceremony of the world conference of Ulama and Islamic awakening last week, Ahmadinejad was wearing an Italian-style dark blue pinstripe suit.

“At least his suits are getting better,” tweeted Hooman Majd, the author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran; posting Ahmadinejad’s picture on the social networking website. Another user tweeted: “New stylist?”

By The Guardian


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