Is an austerity discourse compatible with ostentation? And if so, how can the contempt against the middle class be compatible with the veneration of a wealthy leader? Why is Cristina Fernandez’s indulgent luxury forgiven while the working middle class is stigmatized as privileged oligarchs? How does this relate to the controversial and iconic figure of Eva Duarte de Perón? The paper describes the dichotomy between Cristina Fernandez’s national populist discourse and her personal preference for high-end brands that had turned her into a fashion icon, capturing the attention of fashion bloggers, international newspapers, and even Vogue. Theoretically framed by O’Donell’s conceptualization of Delegative Democracies, the presentation will explore how disguised under a veneer of socialism—and pursuing Chavez’s model for Venezuela—Argentina’s president has mobilized a campaign to control the local Media leading to a confrontation with those journalists who persistently try to unmask her luxurious lifestyle, shopping preferences, and unclear finances. This contradiction between luxury and utterance is not new to the Argentine masses. The iconic figure of Evita was often under attack, accused of enjoying the same lifestyle as those she criticized. The parallelism between these two figures draws an interesting conclusion about the role of Media, performance, nostalgia, and fandom in Latin-American politics.
*Play on words exchanging Dios (God in Spanish) for Dior as in “Dior (God) Save the Queen.”