Jeremy Corbyn has been a cover star in the making for years. Anyone else with the same savviness for following (setting, even?) the season’s hottest trends would have been snapped up to front a glossy mag aeons ago and countless campaigns would already be in the bag (shot in Juergen Teller’s distinctive overexposed style, naturally).
The Labour leader was an early adopter of the SS16 baseball hat trend, promoted cagoules long before the cool crowd caught on a la Balenciaga, and proudly cycled around north London in a shellsuit months prior to fashion wunkerkind Alessandro Michele putting them on the Gucci catwalk last September.
When it came to his moment in the spotlight with GQ, what he wore would be seminal. The outfit chosen by the magazine’s stylist Luke Day? An approachable-meets-authoritative navy wool-blend suit – and a Marks & Spencer one at that. By wearing M&S, Corbyn shows his support for the British high street and – in particular – an institution struggling with its clothing lines (place your bets on Corbyn having a Kate effect). Additionally, at less than £200, it’s what fashion folk praise as “affordable” and “accessible”, as well as toeing his political party line.
It also keeps Corbyn recognisable. As much as the fashion world would have rejoiced to see him decked out in Vetements – the luxe contemporary brand breaking with casualwear convention – this is Corbyn looking and feeling his most comfortable (he wore a near identical M&S style to the Pride of Britain Awards in 2016).
In the inside shoot, with his jacket off, sleeves rolled up and red tie (of course) discarded, he masters the art of another key fashion term: executive realness. And all this from the man who was told last year by then-prime minister David Cameron to “put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem”.
Corbyn admitted to being strong-armed by his advisors in the first place into upping his look. But if the past year has proved anything, it’s that when ready, Corbyn does things his way.