New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave US first lady Michelle Obama stiff fashion competition at the weekend, turning out in a dark pinstripe suit embroidered with his own name – repeatedly.
The saffron stripes in the fitted wool jacket and trousers that Modi wore during bilateral talks with US President Barack Obama on Sunday were not stripes at all.
Close-up photographs revealed the words “Narendra Damodardas Modi” repeatedly embroidered into the fabric. Damodardas was Modi’s father, a tea seller in Gujarat.
Many Modi fans on Twitter loved the look, but political opponents jumped at the chance to take potshots at the prime minister.
“The levels of megalomania and narcissism are unparalleled…it reveals a lot about the mindset of the man,” said Shehzad Poonawalla, a supporter of the main opposition party, Congress.
Modi’s long-time tailor said the suit was specially made for Obama’s visit.
“We were told that he had loved it because it was something exclusive,” said the Gujarat state-based designer who has worked closely in designing Modi’s wardrobe since 2001. The tailor declined to be named.
Obama’s three-day visit to New Delhi has already yielded plans to unlock billions of dollars in nuclear trade and to deepen defence ties, steps the world’s two largest democracies hope will establish an enduring strategic partnership.
India’s leader has long been known for his flair for fashion, often sporting short-sleeved versions of the kurta, the Indian knee-length loose shirt.
The look has become so popular that the “Modi Kurta” has become its own label in India.
Obama himself lauded Modi’s style at a state dinner held on Sunday in New Delhi, comparing it to his wife’s sartorial elegance.
“So he’s tough. And he also has style,” Obama said.
“One of our newspapers back home wrote, ‘Move aside, Michelle Obama. The world has a new fashion icon.'”