ROME: Eight women appointed as ministers in Italy's new government have faced criticism over their dress sense, with one stylist urging them to give Giorgio Armani a call.
Matteo Renzi, the country's new prime minister, named the women, including Marianna Madia, 33, who is eight months pregnant, in his 16-strong cabinet at the weekend. But instead of hailing the appointments as a breakthrough for gender equality, the Italian press has been dominated by catcalls aimed at the clothes the ministers wore to the swearing-in ceremony.
The electric blue trouser suit worn by Maria Elena Boschi, 33, the new minister for reform, gained particular attention. It was described by Corriere della Sera as a colour "unknown in nature". La Stampa likened the blue to that worn by "a Marvel superhero like Captain America", adding that her trousers were so tight that when she bent over to sign in as minister "many were reminded of Pippa Middleton's silhouette".
Turning its attention to the new foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, the paper compared her flared trousers to an "Amish skirt", while Corriere della Sera claimed her hairstyle and salmon-coloured jacket showed "she is convinced she is Hillary Clinton".
The new economic development minister, Federica Guidi, was said to have been "betrayed by her make-up, which had two red points on her cheeks like Heidi in the summer".
Chiara Boni, a stylist, said the ministers should ask a designer such as Armani for a consultation, adding "if Michelle Obama was in Italy she would do the same".
Equality experts said the "sexist" reaction proved that Italy's view of women was still years out of date.
"We continue to see comments on how women in politics are dressed and how they walk," said Sveva Magaraggia, a lecturer at Rome's Roma Tre university. "It all supports the idea that women shouldn't really be in those positions in the first place."
Daily Telegraph, London