Barack Obama has ordered his first new tuxedo in 15 years for his inaugural celebration on January 20, 2009. And Homi Patel, the Mumbai-born chairman and CEO of the leading American suit maker Hartmarx Corp, will personally see to it that the President-elect gets what he wants.
The one-button black tuxedo with satin lapels is being prepared for Obama by HSM, a suburban Des Plaines, Illinois, union shop. Cost? $895 at Nordstrom department stores. Chicago-based Hartmarx is the parent company of HSM.
Obama’s latest purchase will add to his growing collection from the 121-year-old suit maker. Earlier this year, he bought six suits from the largest US-based menswear maker, which he wore throughout the campaign.
Patel told WWD.com, the website for Women’s Wear Daily, that he is working with the president-elect’s staff to determine if Obama will wear a suit with a topcoat to the inauguration ceremony.
As for Obama’s two-button suit, it is a classic power suit, said the Mumbai-born Patel. “It’s strong, navy, and it does make you look powerful, but what makes it presidential is the man in it,” he said.
Patel, 59, told DNA that Obama has been a client of his company ever since he first stood for election to the US Senate in 2004. Patel said he had supported Obama’s campaign for the senate and the ties resulted in a business relationship as well.
Patel, who has been with Hartmarx since 1979 and became CEO in 2001, hails from an illustrious Parsi family of Bombay. His father was chief accountant of the Central Bank of India while his uncle, Dr Jal Patel, was physician to the viceroy of India, the governor of Bombay, and Mohammed Ali Jinnah before Independence.
Later, he was physician to the president of India and continued to be JRD Tata’s personal physician till his end.
Meanwhile, plans for Obama’s inauguration are taking shape. Obama has invited the marching band from Punahou School, his high school in Hawaii, to join the parade.
But with increasing numbers of people out of work and US soldiers enmeshed in two wars, planners face the task of keeping the tone of celebrations respectful. —With NYT