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Angela Merkel, the style of the outgoing German chancellor. Who designs Merkel’s creations?

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Angela Merkel will hand over the reins to new hands after 16 years of rule. Whose? Sunday’s elections to the Bundestag will decide this. One of the most influential women in the world has also gone down in popular culture, among other things due to the outfits for which the famous designer from Hamburg is responsible. – I perceive her as a person who knows who she is – assessed the style of the German chancellor Anna Wintour, the head of “Vouge”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel went down in history for many reasons. She is the first woman chancellor of Germany, and she was the head of the German government for 16 years. By many political commentators, she was considered the most powerful woman in the world. Journalists from “Forbes” and “Time” wrote about it.

Chancellor Merkel will also be remembered for her image, the basis of which has not changed the whole time she led the German government. Page hairstyle, a jacket with three or four buttons, a color-matched blouse with long sleeves, and usually dark, wide pants, a matching necklace, black flat shoes and a capacious handbag – these are the main elements of her characteristic styling, which has been repeatedly referred to as ” uniform”.


The chancellor herself rarely responded to comments about her style. – If men wear dark granite for a hundred days in a row, that’s not a problem. However, when I am wearing the same jacket four times in two weeks, citizens write to me – Merkel said in an interview in the weekly “Die Zeit”.

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Anna Wintour on Angela Merkel’s style

It would seem that one of the most powerful women in the world could reach for the creations of the world’s greatest tailors. Merkel, however, from the beginning of her career in politics, was faithful to a simple style that carried the message: I do not have to prove my position through my wardrobe.

– I really like the fact that it has a recognizable style – said the editor-in-chief of “Vogue” Anna Wintour about Merkel in an interview with “Zeit Magazin” in March 2019. – I see her as a person who knows who she is. I don’t think she’s trying to pretend to be someone else. And I admire her for that, ‘commented Wintour. She stressed that she would like to meet the head of the German government because she is “very authentic” from the perspective of style.

Behind the success of the German-style chancellor is the Hamburg-based designer Bettina Schoenbach, with whom Merkel has been working since winning the 2005 Bundestag elections. Schoenbach began her fashion career in 1976, working for one of the Parisian haute couture brands. Before she founded her own atelier, attracting clients from Germany, the United States and Japan, she worked for brands such as Valentino, Armani and Ungaro. She is also very successful as an author of accessories and interior design. On the official website, Schoenbach writes: “Style is an expression of personal choices that are constantly made” and adds that its role is “to help customers consciously control their own image”.

Angela Merkel will resign as Chancellor of Germany after 16 yearsReuters Archive

Angela Merkel. Hundreds of jackets in the chancellor’s closet

According to the German media, Merkel has accumulated hundreds of jackets designed by Schoenbach in her wardrobe over the years she was in office, which she bought with her own money and which she wore many times. Most often they are sewn from Italian fabrics – and here we can find a full cross-section: linen, wool, silk, velvet. They were created for various occasions and seasons. During these 16 years, the German chancellor has appeared in all possible colors of the rainbow, in all their shades: from pastels to flashy, strong colors. It is believed that Merkel had some key of her own in choosing the colors of jackets – it was said, for example, that she used lavender in important and difficult conversations.

All the colors of MerkelReuters

– There are occasions when I have to wear dark colors. There are events when I am informed that I will be standing on a white background, so the jacket must be a lighter color. Sometimes I just want to wear something bright and colorful – explained Merkel in an interview with “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” in 2015. The German chancellor also rarely decided to experiment with fashion. When in April 2008 she chose the Anna von Griesheim project to inaugurate the new seat of the opera in Oslo, an avalanche of sexist comments ensued. The reason was allegedly a deep neckline of the dress.

Angela Merkel in a dress with a plunging necklineAlbert Nieboer / DPA / PAP

She rarely reached for dresses. One of the occasions when she decided to perform like that was the Bayreuth Festival, where she appeared almost every year. But also in this case, she was faithful to German designers.

It should be noted that at the head of the German government, Merkel never paid any attention to fashion. She is the daughter of a Protestant pastor, raised in the former German Democratic Republic. As an adult woman, she had to find herself in a male-dominated environment – first as a PhD in physical chemistry, then as a politician. In one of the interviews, she clearly emphasized that she is a chancellor, not a model.

Author:Tomasz-Marcin Wrona

Main photo source: Reuters

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