As It Happens

'It feels like a weeklong Indian wedding': Trudeau gets a dressing-down over India outfits

February 23, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, daughter, Ella-Grace, and son, Xavier, visit Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)
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Indian journalist Shivam Vij says some of the Canadian prime minister's wardrobe choices are "over the top, even if he was getting married."  6:21

Story transcript

Indians are having a field day with the Canadian prime minister's wardrobe choices during his visit to the country, says Delhi journalist Shivam Vij. 

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"You know, this whole thing about Justin Trudeau being so handsome has been taken over with 'Hello, what's with the clothes?'" Vij told As It Happens host Carol Off.

The weeklong trip has seen trade deals, political controversies and daily photo-ops of the entire Trudeau family decked out in high-end Indian fashion.

Vij spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about Trudeau's ensembles and compared them to those of India's own camera-ready prime minister, Narendra Modi. 

Here is some of that conversation. 

Can you describe some of [the outfits]?

Essentially, they've been wearing a lot of clothes that people would wear during a long Indian wedding. You know, he's here on a weeklong trip. It feels like a weeklong Indian wedding.

And the children, what are they wearing?

Similarly, they've been playing the part in his costume business. It looks cute, sure. But since he's been doing it every day, he's looking ridiculously overdressed, because after all, he's not at a wedding.

I understand that he's also wearing traditional Mojari shoes?

Traditional, meaning we don't wear those kind of shoes every day. I'm wearing some Skechers shoes right now, you know? 

He's been playing the part, but I'm not sure if this is what he should be wearing. He seems to be overdressing, and he seems to be desperate to show that he's "celebrating Indian culture." 

He had covered his head right at the airport. And people were like, "Hey guys, chill. The Golden Temple is not at the airport; it's a while away."

There's another picture of Prime Minister Trudeau wearing what appears to be a very traditional Indian groom costume. It's in that maroon colour, I think, and he's outside of a Hindu temple. He appears to be wearing a wedding necklace as well.

Yes, which is ridiculous, because you don't go to a temple looking like a groom, you know?

How are people in India responding to these clothes?

We don't mind. There's nothing offensive about it. But we are amused because he's so overdressing, so overdoing it, so it seems like he's on an exotic holiday. 

He's had some meetings with people, Bollywood stars and whatnot. ... How are they dressed? Are they trying to make him feel comfortable by wearing the same clothes?

Not at all. People are dressed as they are. And Bollywood stars tend to dress well, but they're not looking overdressed.

In fact, in particular when he was meeting Bollywood stars, that was the worst dress Prime Minister Trudeau was wearing because it was over the top even if he was getting married.

People have been wondering which Bollywood movie he would fit in, and there are not many.

The Trudeaus pose with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Danish Siddiqui/Reuters)

So people are having fun. Is there a lot of funny things being written in the Indian media about this?

More than the media, social media is having fun. There are a lot of memes going on about it. People are giving him style tips.

But it's not just the clothes. It's also he's very consciously wearing these fancy clothes, doing the namaste, playing the cameras.

Justin Trudeau is known for producing good visuals. And we find it all so amusing because our Prime Minister Narendra Modi does the same. So we are wondering if he's trying to do a Modier Modi.

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Description: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Bhangra dances his way onto a stage in New Delhi, during his official visit to India. The video was originally posted to Twitter.  0:21

What do you think it's going to look like tomorrow when the two of them meet and have to compete for the better wardrobe?

Well, I hope he's only wearing a formal suit tomorrow because if he's going to overshadow Modi, Modi's not going to be happy. It's not going to be good for India-Canada relations. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, like Trudeau, is known for 'producing good visuals,' says Indian journalist Shivam Vij. (Punt Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images)