In an age of television pundits who raise their voices without raising important issues, journalist Gwen Ifill's poise and knowledge make her a stellar standout. As moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour, Ifill is an undisputed media power player. And, power players dress the part.
Gwen Ifill moderating the 2008 Vice Presidential debate.
I met Ms. Ifill yesterday at the Hudson Union Society's event at the Williams Club where she was discussing her best-selling book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. She made the journey from her home in Washington, DC to New York City on the ACELA train and was dressed in a simple yet elegant travel friendly ensemble of black slacks paired with a black shirt and a perfectly tailored royal blue jacket. The other guests sensibly questioned Ms. Ifill about politics, President Obama, and other serious matters. Don't get me wrong, I care about those issues too and enjoyed hearing her perspective. But there was one question I really needed the answer to.
"Ms. Ifill, I couldn't help but notice the gorgeous blue jacket you wore when you moderated the Vice Presidential debates in 2008. Who designed it?"
Smiling warmly, Ms. Ifill answered, "Nina McLemore."
While not as important as the countless hours of research and hundreds of questions that she carefully crafted in preparation for the highly anticipated debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, I suspect that Ms. Ifill gave serious consideration to a jacket that would be seen by a live audience of almost 70 million people. Not only did she need to like the garment but her selection needed to convey the message that she was confident and in charge without being distracting. For the debate, Ms. Ifill needed to be prepared in every way, especially since there were some vocal critics who questioned Ms. Ifill's ability to be unbiased because then Presidential Candidate Obama was a focal point in her book. When asked how she felt about her detractors Ifill said, "They were trying to mess with my mind and I wasn't going to have it."
Nina McLemore? The name was unfamiliar to me but Nina McLemore must be nothing less than fabulous if Ifill opted to wear her jacket on such a momentous occasion. Ifill was also wearing a McLemore jacket at her appearance yesterday.
Ms. Ifill was gracious enough to pose for a photo with me! Look, another great jacket!
photo by J. Hoch
Further research revealed that Ms. McLemore is the Founder of Liz Claiborne Accessories and Former Chair of the Fashion Group International. Her collection of clothing for "smart, confident women on the go," is also a favorite of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
After delivering her great talk, Ms. Ifill had a few hours of free time before taping her appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Could a visit to Nina McLemore's Manhattan showroom for another fab jacket have been the next step on her busy agenda?