We Visited the Clothing Store in Kosovo That's Dedicated to Hillary Clinton's Style
The store is called Hillary, it's near Bill Clinton Boulevard, and it's packed full of pantsuits.
This article originally appeared on VICE Serbia.
The people of Kosovo are huge Clinton family fans, mostly because of Bill and Hillary's open support of the state's independence bid. While former President Bill Clinton has had a boulevard named after him, it's without a doubt that his wife's the real star out here.
Hillary Clinton is thought of as a sort of fashion guru around these parts—so much so that there's a boutique right in the middle of the capital, Pristina, named Hillary and dedicated to the former Secretary of State's sartorial choices. Clinton visited the shop in 2012 and was gifted a dashing navy-blue pantsuit as a thank you for actually bothering to drop in. True story.
Curious as to why the former first lady's less-than-distinctive look is so popular in this tiny part of the world, I decided to check out the clothes for myself and get a feel of how her presidential run is being received by the shop's owners.
On a wet Saturday morning I made my way to Pristina. Hillary is located only a few feet away from the 10-foot statue of Bill Clinton that marks the start of Clinton Boulevard. Inside, I met Fiola, a 24-year-old English literature student who works as a shop assistant at Hillary. She would be my stylist for the day. According to Fiola, her English was "very bad," but after we got to chatting about clothes we both realized it wasn't. Either that, or she just has a stunning vocabulary when it comes to all things pantsuit.
Unfortunately, Fiola wasn't working on the day that Clinton actually visited the store. A shame, given how excited the shop owners had been about the visit. Photos documenting the experience had been given shrine-like status throughout the entire building.
As Fiola picked out my first garment of the day, she got to telling me about how the whole thing started. Apparently the initial idea for the store came from the owner's father, who reckoned that if he opened a shop dedicated to Hillary Clinton, one day she'd have to come to Pristina to meet him. As ludicrous as that sounds, he wasn't wrong.
Due to popular demand, Fiola didn't have the store's most sought-after garment—a beige pantsuit—in my size. So, instead, we opted for a dark-blue co-ord. High heels were mandatory for this one; as Fiola explained, Clinton would want her body to look "elegant" in that particular skirt.
It seems to be mostly young, business-savvy ladies who shop at Hillary, which helps to make the boutique one of Pristina's most exclusive. It's all relative, though—take the fact that Kosovo has one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe into account and it's not too surprising that everything on offer at Hillary is made mostly of synthetic fabrics.
Accordingly, the price for what's essentially a Hillary Clinton Halloween costume are above average for the region, but low for the rest of the Western world. The first outfit I tried on, for example, would set you back around $130.
As I'm allergic to high heels, I asked Fiola to bring on the next outfit in hope of escaping the bloody things. I wasn't allowed. In fairness, what's a dark blue pantsuit without high heels? Nothing, according to my stylist.
"Don't stand like that!" Fiola howled at me as I stumbled out of the dressing room. "Hillary would have her back straight. Not like you!"
Posture rectified, I decided to go for a short walk to see if my make-believe husband was into my new look. Unfortunately, my make-believe husband was an inanimate statue of Bill Clinton, so I didn't get much in the way of feedback.
I asked Fiola what clothes she'd pick out for Clinton if she chose to visit the store again. Without a second's hesitation she brought out a white shirt, dark blue trousers, and a red blazer.
"Americans like that, don't they? These are the colors of their flag," she explained.
I asked Fiola what she thought about Clinton's candidacy. "I wish her all the best. And I hope she will win," she said.
And what if she does win? What's she going to wear then? I figured I should try to could find myself a Hillary Clinton-worthy inauguration dress. The shop offered a few "red-carpet" dresses, and Fiola chose their best synthetic, bejeweled number for me.
"Chin up!" she yelled at me again as I was checking myself out in the mirror. She sees Clinton as a "strong, independent woman," and therefore demanded that I too act the part.
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As the rain began to clear, more and more ladies started popping into the shop. Some women were looking for party dresses, others for business outfits. I remembered that, earlier, Fiola had told me it's mostly female politicians who buy pantsuits in Pristina.
I didn't get a chance to meet any of them, but one thing was pretty obvious: there are women in Kosovo who really like to look and feel American—even though the clothes sold in Hillary are mostly imported from Turkey.