With an ever-rising number of 1%-ers in the public eye for less-than-god’s-work-like behavior, Town and Country magazine knows it can be tough dressing for court when nothing in your closet is off the rack! Here are some fashion strategies for the wealthy and notorious as they approach the bar… the dock is the new red carpet and one must, must find the balance between Brioni and bankruptcy… or Couture over Kevlar…
Michael Steinberg, Insider Trading.
Mr. Steinberg, a top portfolio manager and close confidant of Steve Cohen at SAC Capital Advisers, wears a navy crew neck, a dark suit, and an open collared starched white shirt, projecting the image of the harried trader who’d just stepped away from his terminal. Some details—the hand-sewn buttons and the French shirt placket—do betray the presence of a personal shopper, but clearly Steinberg here is obeying the injunction his wife Liz sent out to friends, to lose the bling if you’re going to attend proceedings.
Postscript: Mr. Steinberg, who was found guilty yesterday, briefly fainted as the jury returned to render the verdict, which is probably not a good sign for his superior, Steve Cohen, who must hope that Steinberg doesn’t crack in the pen. Steinberg now faces an entirely more difficult fashion challenge: what to wear to his sentencing hearing April 25.
Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi, both called as witnesses during an embezzlement trial.
The couple have had their own War of the Roses playing out in the press of late. But when Lawson’s assistants were accused of bilking her husband of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the estranged couple both appeared in court, she in dramatic dark navy and he in primly buttoned penetential solids.
Martha Stewart, ImClone insider trading (left) and JCPenney licensing (right).
The matchy-match mogul of Omnimedia remains insouciantly beige in the face of the law, whether it’s her freedom at stake (the ImClone trial in 2003) or merely her product lines (JCPenney lawsuit this fall).
Rajat Gupta and Fabrice Tourre, securities fraudsters.
The Goldman gang, like the boys at Lloyds of London, maintains a strict but uncodified bankerly uniform. Rajat, who ducked out of a board meeting to urge a friend to sell a particular stock, sports the crisper senior partner interpretation, and Fabrice, with his lilac shirt and uncinched lavender tie on a field of gray, a more fabulous if midlevel take on the uniform of insider trading.
Boris Berezovsky, Roman Abramovich, ownership disputes over Sibneft.
Two generations of Russian oligarch faced off in a London court over Berezovsky’s claims that Abramovich had bilked him of promised billions. The wildly entertaining spectacle pitted stylistic opposites, with Berezovsky pursuing a dapper-by-proxy strategy (his henchman looks sharper than he does!) and Abramovich trying to broadcast a CEO-like unflappability in a blue suit that seems to be a blend of wool and kevlar.
Anthony Marshall, conspiracy, grand larceny, elder abuse.
The son of Brooke Astor, stepson of Vincent Astor, and for many years the executor of the Astor estate, often dressed for court like a mallwalking elder, perhaps emulating the strategy of Vincent the Chin Gigante, who bolstered his insanity defense by his unorthodox fashion choices in court.
Although Marshall was found guilty on various counts, his oddly disinterested wardrobe seems to have paid off: he recently was awarded medical parole after serving just eight weeks of his 1 to 3 year sentence.
Phil Spector, murder.
Mr Spector reinforced an overall impression of untrustworthiness by donning a succession of wigs that made him look like a transgendered Zombie version of 70s pinup idol Farrah Fawcett.
Kenneth Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, executive malfeasance.
Both Lay and Kozlowski provided windows into the high-flying lifestyle of the bald CEO, but their wardrobe choices—grays, club ties, solid shirts of blue or white—are the fashion equivalent of a hurried “no comment.”
Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, securities violations.
The two kingpins of the financial ascendency turned on each other in court. Boesky, the comparatively more buccaneer of the pair with his sharp pointed collars and flowy Armani suits, was surprised to find that the SEC might enforce rules against massive insider trading, and quickly turned state’s evidence on Milken, the junk bond pioneer, who signaled his remorse to the world after serving a sentence of 22 months by abandoning forever his outrageous Brillo pad toupees.
So when the music stops this time… and they haul another bunch of 1%-ers into the dock… what will they be wearing?