Dictator chic: why did Liz Truss wear the same outfit as a fictional fascist?

  Reading time 2 minutes

Liz Truss delivered her first speech as prime minister at the Conservative party conference wearing a dress that appeared identical to that of a fictional tyrannical female dictator.

The red dress worn by Truss is very much like the one worn by Emma Thompson for her portrayal of Vivienne Rook – a Nigel Farage-meets-Katie-Hopkins figure – in the dystopian science fiction miniseries Years and Years. The drama, written by Russell T Davies, is set between 2019 and 2034 and follows Rook’s inexorable rise to power as the leader of a far-right populist party amid increasingly chaotic global affairs.

In the scene where Thompson’s character is wearing the structured, V-neck dress – the “forever” dress, by Karen Millen – she’s introducing concentration camps to Britain. Declan Cashin, who tweeted photographs of the matching outfits under the caption “Huh”, added that they had paired “down to the belt and everything”.

“This is getting weird,” Davies posted to Instagram alongside images of the two women. The response was a resounding “yes”.

Truss was spotted wearing the dress in 2019, just before the release of Years and Years, prompting commenters to ask: who is influencing who?

Surely, it’s purely coincidence – and kudos to the dress as a cartoonish (but effective) way of power-dressing. Big shoulders (see Rick Owens spring/summer 23 collection, or Alexander McQueen’s autumn/winter 22 triangular shapes) are a useful way to look bigger. After all, as the old rule goes: if you can’t wear heels, hoick up the shoulders.

Truss, who vowed to defeat “enemies of enterprise” in her speech, had another run-in with pop culture at the same time, angering the 1990s band M People by walking on stage to their hit song Moving on Up. The band’s founder, Mike Pickering, said they were “livid”.

3 thoughts on “Dictator chic: why did Liz Truss wear the same outfit as a fictional fascist?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *