Volume 73, Number 49 | April 7 - 13, 2004

Hillary’s selling like hotcakes at designer’s boutiques

By Elizabeth O’Brien

This spring, Marc Jacobs has given his fans a new way to make a fashion statement.

Along with the designer’s delicate pastel looks, shoppers at his Mercer and Bleecker St. boutiques can buy T-shirts emblazoned with Hillary Clinton’s face. They look somewhat out of place: a bit of thrift-store kitsch surrounded by pink coats that fetch $3,000.

Jacobs first approached the senator with the idea of the fundraising tees. All the money raised by the $55 and $60 shirts goes directly to Clinton’s reelection coffers.

“It was quite flattering,” said Patti Solis Doyle, a Clinton aide.

Clinton is up for reelection to the Senate in 2006.

Last week, The New York Sun reported that Clinton supporters would soon stop production on the T-shirts after a month-long campaign, but Doyle said they were still figuring out how to handle the overwhelming demand.

A worker in the Marc Jacobs corporate offices said the Mercer and Bleecker St. stores had sold about 1,100 shirts to date. Shirts were also being sold online at www.friendsofhillary.com, but Doyle did not return a call asking how many had been bought through the Web site.

An employee of the Mercer St. boutique said that buyers of the shirts defied generalization. Young and old, male and female — all are snapping up the Warhol-inspired silkscreen designs in red, powder blue, brown green and dark gray.

But since the purchase amounts to a political donation, only U.S. citizens and permanent residents can buy them, said the employee, who requested anonymity. She said that she must check ID’s of everyone buying the shirts, sometimes resulting in tiffs with tourists who she turns down.

The British love Clinton and want the shirts to show their support, the employee said, while the Japanese tend to love the design.

Linda Elmani, 37, who works across the street from the Mercer St. store, said of the shirts, “I think from a fashion standpoint they’re cute.”

But when asked if she would fork over $55 for a short-sleeved tee or $60 for a long-sleeved version, Elmani had a ready answer.

“No,” she said. “And I spend crazy money on clothes.”

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