What is this?
A photo of French president Emmanuel Macron has been doing the rounds and raising eyebrows, even sparking news articles around the globe.
It shows a slightly unshaven Macron wearing a hoodie with a military logo and raising an eyebrow at the photographer.
Casual Macron engaging in weekend phone diplomacy complete with hoodie and light stubble . . .
Photo from official photographer Soazig de la Moissonnière https://t.co/wsYyIDUMMp pic.twitter.com/m8Lk2uUHvr
— Emma Pearson (@LocalFR_Emma) March 14, 2022
Er, and why is this news?
It’s an unusual look for the French president, who is very rarely photographed wearing anything other than a well-tailored dark suit and crisp white shirt.
It’s led to a lot of comment, with many people making the point that Macron appears to be trying to ape the macho, military look of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who has become something of an international sex symbol in recent days (although that’s probably the last thing on his mind as he tried to deal with the Russian invasion of his country).
Paratrooper hoodie, stubble… he’s clearly going for the Zelensky look!
— Marcas O hAodh (@BranchyTree) March 14, 2022
Several British newspapers have written articles on the photo, many European newspapers have covered it and it’s even crossed the Atlantic to the US.
Some writers appreciated Macron’s new look, others accused him of a publicity stunt and trying to ‘piggy back’ the tragedy in Ukraine for electoral reasons.
Was it a publicity stunt?
Sort of. Macron has an official photographer, Soazig de la Moissonière, and during the election campaign she has been releasing 10 photos every day showing life with candidate Macron, on her Instagram account.
View this post on Instagram
Most of them are fairly run-of-the-mill and show Macron in a suit shaking hands with other men in suits.
The hoodie photo was taken on Sunday and shows Macron taking part in another round of international phone diplomacy as he continues to work with other world leaders to find a solution to the Ukraine crisis.
As it’s a Sunday, he’s in casual clothes, looking less groomed that usual – if there is an intended message it’s probably ‘No days off for the leaders of the free world’.
The photo that most media are using is actually a cropped version of this picture (below) showing Macron raising an eyebrow at the photographer as he leaves the Salon Doré (aka his office) in the Elysée Palace.
View this post on Instagram
What’s in a sweater?
The suit is very much Macron’s trademark, but those who know him say he’s always been a casual dresser while off duty and has long had a penchant for hoodies. It’s therefore unlikely that he bought this one especially for the photo.
Macron does sometimes don a black polo-neck sweater for official announcements – often when he’s trying to appeal to more left-wing voters by donning the uniform of the French intellectual left – and he’s sometimes photographed on holiday looking more relaxed in chinos and a shirt.
If you’ve ever been curious about the presidential knees, here’s a video of him competing in a charity football match.
🔥 LE BUUUUUUT DU NUMÉRO 3…. EMMANUEL MACRON !
😅 Sur penalty, le président de la République égalise pour le Variétés Club de France, bien aidé par le gardien il faut le dire… pic.twitter.com/uDXx49tgKN
— RMC Sport (@RMCsport) October 14, 2021