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Kay Burley v Jeremy Paxman: who won the style debate?

Technically speaking, David Cameron won the #battlefornumber10 last night, dressed in snooze-button navy and looking pleased as punch. But what of the hosts? Incomparable as presenters (Kay Burley moderated, Jeremy Paxman grilled) their disparate styling caught our attention too, raising the question: who looked better? Debate dressing is always tricky, given that you can mistakenly appear to back a party by wearing the wrong socks. So was it Sky’s Burley, who came dressed as a buoy, or Paxman who went Pitti Uomo?

Jeremy Paxman during the filming of Cameron Miliband: The Battle For Number 10. Photograph: WPA Pool/Getty Images

To Paxman first, who peacocked his way through a series of brutal questions in a checked Corneliani-inspired suit, finished off with a clashing Magic Eye red tie. The whole sentiment was jaunty. A little bit Wodehouse, it was also reminiscent of SS15 Missoni’s bold prints, sharply tailored in a Prada-ish way with a single button done up (a nod to every man on the red carpet in Tom Ford during awards season this spring). The only rub was the school shirt (a deflating addition) and this nod to Pitti Uomo, a very specific Italian look inspired by the very high-end Milanese menswear shows, which probably went over most viewers heads.

Kay Burley hosting the audience debate. Photograph: screengrab

Then there was Burley, aficionado of the upper end of the high-street market (she loves Marks Spencer and LK Bennett) who plumped for a pink/orange Dan Flavin-coloured structured number, with a nod to Roland Mouret’s iconic “wiggle” Galaxy dress topped off with an asymmetric neckline and unnerving heels. Did it work? Sort of. It makes one want to ask whether Burley was mediating or hosting a cocktail party, but still the colour was fun, the shape was flattering and the styling was safe enough so as to ensure she played second fiddle to the political opponents. Compared with Paxman, though? Impartially dull.

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