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Rishi Sunak, casually dressed in a Lacoste polo shirt and jeans, with his wife, Akshata Murty, at an event in his constituency in Yorkshire, England. The British prime minister has a taste for expensive shoes and designer suits. Photo: Rishi Sunak Facebook

Prada shoes, designer suits: Rishi Sunak’s stealth-wealth wardrobe a contrast to that of his predecessors Liz Truss and Boris Johnson

  • Liz Truss wore high street brand earrings. Boris Johnson’s suits were always crumpled. The new British prime minister’s style stands in stark contrast to theirs
  • Sunak has a taste for Prada shoes and for suits that cost thousands of dollars, but also tries to appear in touch with ‘the people’ by dressing semi-casual

According to The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, a late-night talk show in the US, there is a major backlash under way in Britain over the appointment of the country’s first Asian Prime Minister.

This is surely a case of Americans stamping their own culture wars on the rest of the world – because the truth is that the vast majority of Britons are proud that the son of immigrants has risen to the highest office in the land.

What is far more controversial is the fact that Rishi Sunak is richer than King Charles. Well, his wife is anyway.
While he was at Stanford University in the United States, Sunak met Akshata Murty, the daughter of Indian billionaire N. R. Narayana Murthy, who is the founder of tech company Infosys.
Murty and Sunak at the Frieze Art Fair 2022 preview in London in October. Photo: Getty Images

Her shares in her father’s business have made the couple two of the richest people in Britain, with a combined fortune of £730 million (US$840 million).

Sunak likes to take aim at leader of the opposition Keir Starmer for living in the liberal heartland of Islington in London – but Sunak and Murty probably should not throw stones from their multiple glass houses, given that they own a £7 million home in Kensington, a flat in Chelsea, and two more in California in the US.
Sunak speaks at a Conservative Party leadership campaign event in July. Three months after losing the contest, he was installed as party leader and British prime minister. Photo: Reuters
This pot of gold has resulted in Sunak having the sort of stealth-wealth wardrobe that is rarely seen in British politics. In this summer’s leadership race, much was made over the fact that Liz Truss wore £4.50 earrings from high street brand Claire’s Accessories, while Rishi Sunak was spotted in £450 Prada shoes and a £3,500 suit while visiting a building site.

It is not the first time Dishy Rishi (as the tabloids nicknamed him during his Covid spending spree) has been in the papers for his expensive, but also unusually fashionable, taste in clothes.

The Palace of Westminster has never been a particularly trend-focused place. But Sunak – in his Common Projects’ Achilles shoes, which are a favourite in Silicon Valley and which come embossed with gold serial numbers – has done his best to keep the side up.

Sunak (left) wore £450 Prada shoes and a £3,500 suit while visiting a building site in Teesside, England with Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen. Photo: Getty Images
Sunak’s look is best described as one part European finance bro, one part Emmanuel Macron and one part fashion conscious millennial – a generation he is either part of or misses by just one year, depending on which guidelines you follow.
You know that if politics had not got in the way, he would be decked out in clothes by brands like Brunello Cucinelli and The Row.
Murty, Sunak and their two daughters. Photo: Instagram/@RishiSunakmp

As it is, he has had to drop down a notch or two in the luxury stakes by wearing Everlane jumpers and lean, nipped-in tailoring.

Unlike many of his colleagues – rarely spotted in anything other than a navy suit – Sunak keeps it semi-casual in open-neck shirts, backpacks and trainers, as well as ​​hoodies and Palm Angels slides with socks – even beaded friendship bracelets, one of which spells out Dada.

He exemplifies that very modern phenomenon of trying to seem in touch with “the people” through the laid-back style of clothing he wears, rather than how luxurious the brands in question are.

Boris Johnson (left) and Sunak at the House of Commons, in London on March 23, 2022. Photo: AFP

The contrast with his former boss, Boris Johnson, is stark. Where Johnson never knowingly ironed anything, Sunak rarely looks anything other than immaculate.

His shirts are sewn by hand by the Travelling Artisan, a bespoke Italian shirtmaker, while his suits are usually custom made by Savile Row tailor Henry Herbert.

“He styles himself well – hence people being surprised by how small he is,” says men’s fashion stylist James Smythe. “At 5ft 6in (171cm) and very slight, he’s shorter than the average man in Britain, so his suits will have to be tailored.

“For example, look at the narrow proportions and elongated lapels, both of which create an illusion of height.”

Sunak looks equally relaxed in black tie as he does in his work suits – and has learned how to dress for his Yorkshire constituency in Barbour jackets, Ralph Lauren Polo knitwear and ankle boots.

While visiting him in Yorkshire, Murty has been spotted in a simple Club Monaco dress; at parties, meanwhile, she has been photographed in Lanvin.

Murty in central London. Photo: Getty Images

Murty is a woman who understands the fashion industry: she began her career in finance in California before starting her own fashion label, Akshata Designs, which launched its first collection in 2011.

According to news sources, the business collapsed within three years but Murty still has vested interests in various brands, including high-end English men’s fashion brand New & Lingwood, which sells handmade silk dressing gowns that retail for nearly £300.

According to a 2011 Vogue profile, Murty once worked with artists in remote villages to create Indian-meets-Western fusion clothes that are “vehicles to discovering Indian culture”.

“I believe we live in a materialistic society,” she told the magazine. “People are becoming more conscious about the world they live in. Doing good is fashionable.”

Let us hope – for the sake of the currently beleaguered United Kingdom – her husband feels the same way.