OK, so we’re going off-road for this one.
Hannelore Kohl, wife of former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, was hardly the strangest flower. Rather than eccentricity her life was instead marked by public exposure and private tragedy, the latter winning out in 2001 when she took her own life.
And unlike our other Friday fashion insurrectionists she was hardly an adventurous dresser, merely adding a hausfrau twist to the Cold Warrior’s Consort template established by Nancy Reagan (helmet hair, shoulder pads).
The sole reason, then, for featuring Hannelore Kohl is this incredible photo. I came across it a few months ago while flicking through a magazine, whereupon I commented “whoa“. And I stand by that statement. I’ve forgotten the exact circumstances of this shot; from memory Hannelore had accompanied her husband to Chicago on an official visit, and it was taken by veteran photographer Helmut R. Schulze.
Anyway, who cares – the point is that it somehow produced the most unlikely image of a politician’s spouse imaginable. The improbable scenario which brings together two different worlds in what appears to be a strange artsy parody of a cigarette ad, the cop’s strained uniform and conspicuous weapon, the First Frau’s cocky stance and flirtatious tilt of the head, the backdrop which looks for all the world like a projection, the queer yellow light falling on the protagonists, the vivid sense of no-one either behind or in front of the camera being where they expected to be… I’m not sure I’m doing it justice but really, can’t you see this blown up and exhibited over a whole wall in a contemporary gallery?