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Margaret Thatcher: Fashion as a Political Tool

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Of all the people Margaret Thatcher surrounded herself with during her life in politics, the diminutive and knowledgeable Cynthia Crawford was one of the most interesting and important. As PA to Britain’s first female prime minister, her role stretched far beyond keeping Mrs. Thatcher’s wardrobe in ready-to-rule order: She was a direct witness to her character and determination, becoming a valued and trusted friend

The clothes Mrs Crawford cared for, however, remained of vital importance: Mrs Thatcher took her clean-cut, highly public image very seriously, using her wardrobe, not just to further and endorse her authority, but also to sell British fashion wherever she went. To make sure that she did not wear the same outfit on two days in a row, particularly in an age when sessions in the House of Commons were being televised for the first time, Cynthia Crawford — affectionately known as ‘Crawfie’ — kept wardrobe diaries. An entry in the diary would be made every morning or, if she was away, one of the other girls would do it, listing what Mrs. Thatcher had worn the day before.

Mrs. Crawford worked for Mrs. Thatcher for over 35 years, starting when she was leader of the Conservative party and the MP for Finchley. In around 1985, ‘Crawfie’ moved out of the office in No.10, where she had been working with the other secretaries, into a little office of her own just outside Mrs. Thatcher’s flat: ‘There I stayed until 1990 when she was deposed, and of course I left with her and the rest is history,’ she says. ‘I was with her for 36 years, until she died in 2013.’

Read more at http://www.christies.com/features/Margaret-Thatcher-the-wardrobe-diaries-6883-3.aspx

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