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Fashion on Gayot


Susanna Beverly Hills

Politics of the Pantsuit

Senator Hillary Clinton with daughter Chelsea at the Democratic National Convention in Denver
Sen. Hillary Clinton (with Chelsea) in a Susanna Beverly Hills pantsuit

Before former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's red patent leather Naughty Monkey pumps strode to the fashion forefront of the 2008 presidential elections, there was the empowering ensemble that Hillary Clinton affectionately referred to as the "traveling pantsuit" in her speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver (where Clinton spoke in support of Barack Obama). Throughout the election trail, the senator sported multifarious hues of the jacket-and-pants combo, the boldest of which was the bright tangerine number that popped against the convention stage’s cobalt blue backdrop in Denver.

Susanna Chung Forest designed many of the pantsuits Hillary Clinton wore during her campaign
Forest in one of her own designs

The designer behind the pantsuits that brought together an entire "sisterhood" of women is, appropriately enough, female. Diminutive in stature and abounding in ambition, Susanna Chung Forest creates custom-tailored suits from her Beverly Hills boutique for a clientele that includes royal families, female executives and Hollywood wives. Forest, who immigrated to Los Angeles from South Korea in the 1970s, met Clinton at a fundraiser in the summer of 2007, and the two powerhouses struck up a sartorial partnership that gave rise to a series of sharp pantsuit looks for the one-time presidential hopeful.

A mannequin Forest had constructed based on Clinton’s measurements still occupies the studio inside the Susanna Beverly Hills boutique (which she has owned for over 30 years), along with those of her other clients. "My dream was to design clothes for the most powerful and successful women in the world," Forest has said. Though her dreams appear to have been realized, this driven businesswoman is not resting on her lapels. Forest plans to launch a lower-priced line targeting young women, in hopes of inspiring them to take strides towards achieving their career goals. The sisterhood would be proud.

by Emily Tsay

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(Updated: 11/06/08 ET)

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