I guess that the only election question left is, will Barbara Bush or Kitty Dukakis borrow clothes from American fashion designers when one of them becomes first lady of the land?
It probably wouldn't have come up if Time magazine had not revealed that our best couturiers were throwing millions of dollars' worth of outfits over the White House fence for Nancy Reagan to wear.You could argue that by wearing borrowed clothes, Mrs. Reagan was helping the domestic fashion industry. Or critics might suggest that in taking $20,000 gowns, Mrs. Reagan was putting the White House under obligation to the designers who dress our upper classes.
Or you could do what most people do when they read the Nancy Reagan yarn and exclaim, "This is terrible. I am so shocked. I don't know if I have the strength to turn to the page and read the rest of the story."
Which raises the subject of how many dresses Kitty or Barbara intend to borrow while in the White House.
I called Bush headquarters to speak to someone high in the campaign. They gave me the person in charge of the motor pool. She seemed wary about answering questions.
"Will Mrs. Bush continue the Nancy Reagan policy of calling up Adolfo and saying, `I don't have anything to wear for a tea today with the wife of the prime minister of the Solomon Islands'?"
"At this point in time, Mrs. Bush will continue using her own wardrobe because she intends to be with Mr. Bush when he goes out to fight crime in the streets."
"Suppose Galanos or Valentino comes up to Mrs. Bush and says, `If you wear my gowns, the country will prosper and your husband will balance the budget'? Would she borrow some dresses?"
"No, because Mrs. Bush does not make such a big thing out of clothing. By the same token, Mrs. Bush admires Mrs. Reagan's taste in clothes."
"If Mrs. Bush moves into the White House on inauguration day and finds all the clothes that Mrs. Reagan wore still in the closet, what will she do?"
"She'll give them to Vice President Dan Quayle, who will be in charge of crisis management."
I decided to try to get through to Kitty Dukakis. The Dukakis people turned me over to a high-level messenger in the Washington office. He told me that Kitty had no intention of wearing any designer outfits in the Whihat wearing couturier garments would detract from her husband's efforts to give the country catastrophic health insurance coverage."
He added that when it comes to buying outfits, Kitty intends to stick with Filene's Basement, which Mike is going to make the summer White House.
"What does Mrs. Dukakis think Nancy should do with the clothes she borrowed?"
"Give them to the Imelda Marcos' Fashion School of Design."