On December 11, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had a highly contentious meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the prospect of a government shutdown and funding for a border wall. The meeting was short but incredibly tense, with Schumer at one point goading Trump into screaming that he would be “proud” to shut down the government to build a border wall.
At the end of the meeting, both parties reached a stalemate, but the Democrats, having convinced Trump to cop to the possibility of a government shutdown, appeared to be the victors. That impression was only enhanced by Pelosi, who was photographed leaving the White House wearing a brick-red funnel-necked three-quarter-length coat with dark sunglasses, looking like a goddamn boss.
Almost immediately, Pelosi emerging from the White House became a meme, with everyone from Pentagon reporters to Moonlight director Barry Jenkins gushing over the coat as a power move:
Putting politics aside for a second, can we all agree that Pelosi is wearing an exceptionally stylish coat? https://t.co/Sug4S66BRt— Bronwen Dickey (@BronwenDickey) December 11, 2018
Has anybody figured what coat this is she’s wearing? I waited to ask this question, let the seriousness of the situation be properly discussed but... that color is LEGIT and we need to know this https://t.co/hfF6IZL5Yg— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) December 12, 2018
Btw, I loved Nancy Pelosi's red coat. Those high buttons across the neck are boss. Iconic imagery, yesterday. pic.twitter.com/hHSAPnQi3Y— Kevin Baron (@DefenseBaron) December 12, 2018
From Kiernan Shipka’s wool swing jacket in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to Kate Middleton’s iconic red coat with ruffles, red outerwear is currently having a bit of a moment. At first, the provenance of Pelosi’s coat was a mystery; while some speculated it was made by designer Carolina Herrera, the New York Times later reported that the coat was the Glamis from Max Mara’s 2013 outerwear line. (The dark sunglasses were Armani, for what it’s worth.) It’s unclear precisely how much the coat cost, but generally speaking, Max Mara coats retail for anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000.
Inspired by the fervor over Pelosi’s coat, on Wednesday afternoon a spokesperson for the brand issued a press release saying it would reissue the coat for the 2019 outerwear collection. Ian Griffiths, the creative director of Max Mara, told the New York Times: “You develop an emotional relationship with a coat like nothing else in your wardrobe. I can imagine why Ms. Pelosi chose to wear it for this important moment, and I’m honored.”
This isn’t the first time a celebrity wearing an old item of clothing has prompted fashion brands to put it back on the market. Meghan Markle has perhaps played the largest role in this trend; because everything she wears in public tends to sell out immediately (a phenomenon that has been deemed “the Markle effect”), brands will often reissue older clothes she’s worn in public to meet consumer demand.
For instance, when Markle appeared in an interview with the BBC discussing her recent engagement to Prince Harry, she wore an emerald green dress from the Italian brand P.A.R.O.S.H.; the dress sold out within an hour, and was later reissued with the name “the Meghan.”
The jeans brand Mother Denim, which rarely reissues older styles, also reissued its Looker Ankle Fray jeans after Markle was photographed wearing a pair at the Invictus Games in Toronto.
If the same celebrity wears the same item of clothing multiple times, that can also spur a reissue: After Kendall Jenner was photographed a number of times wearing the same white pair of Kurt Geiger boots, the PR consulting firm for the brand convinced it to put the boots back on the market.
Brands have also been known to reissue clothes from previous seasons without celebrities prompting increased consumer demand. It’s become de rigueur for luxury and mass-market brands alike to dip back into their archives and reintroduce older pieces onto the market.
Most recently, Marc Jacobs announced that he would be reissuing many of the pieces he designed 25 years ago in his iconic grunge-inspired collection for Perry Ellis. On the less high-end end of the spectrum, J. Crew reissued its 1980s rugby sweaters for its fall 2017 collection.
Such moves appeal to millennial consumers’ nostalgic impulses and “can strengthen a connection with consumers by emphasizing their long-standing presence,” Deborah Weinswig, the managing director of the retail think tank FWGR, told Bloomberg.
Of course, there’s a simpler, less jargon-y explanation for this trend: Just like every other creative industry, the fashion world often runs out of ideas, and circling back to the archives is an easy and low-cost way to make what’s old new-ish again. Which it’s why it’s so exciting to see a seasons-old trend getting all this organic attention — not as a result of clever marketing or branding, but from the sheer power of virality alone. The fact that Pelosi looks like a bona fide G certainly doesn’t hurt.