Michelle Obama looks beautiful in her blue Peter Soronen gown at the second White House State Dinner during President Obama’s term. Her one-shoulder gown has an iridescent shine that shimmers alongside the silver metallic belt. President Obama wears a black tuxedo and a bow tie. The statuesque couple hosts the president of Mexico Felipe Calderon and his wife Margarita Zavala.
First Lady Michelle Obama takes first place when it comes to ‘Political Chic’, that’s according to a poll taken by French Elle magazine. Note that First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy took second place in a poll in her own backyard. The two are often compared to one another especially when it comes to their style choices. Mrs. Obama is viewed as a risk taker when it comes to her style choices; she is a big supporter of new and emerging designers and Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy tends to stick to the well-established ones. Mrs. Obama often selects emerging designers like Sophie Theallet and Junya Watanabe, while Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy usually wears Christian Dior. Michelle Obama’s fearlessness when it comes to her style has earned her the respect of many in the fashion industry, and landed her the top spot in this poll.
Michelle Obama graces the cover of Glamour magazine’s December issue in her own Jason Wu dress. The December issue features Glamour’s “Women of the Year”, and it is out next week. Within the article she talks mentorship, role models and dating. You heard me correctly, the First Lady offers sound dating advice like:
“Cute’s good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it’s, Who are you as a person? Don’t look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul…”
She also offers advice on personal style, and stresses that a woman should remain true to herself, even though others will have their own opinions. A style icon in her own right, she is often compared to the iconic Jackie O. We’ve seen Mrs. Obama’s sometimes eclectic style choices throughout her time as the First Lady, and there has also been no shortage of opinions as well. Through it all she has been gracious, but faithful to her own personal style choices.
American designer Isabel Toledo is preparing for her upcoming exhibit at FIT, Fashion from the Inside Out. There will also be a book of the same title. Ms. Toledo took her turn on the world stage during the 2009 Inauguration when First Lady, Michelle Obama selected her gold dress and coat for the ceremony. She learned that her dress was selected while watching television along with everyone else. The Inauguration dress has since earned a place in the Smithsonian. Isabel Toledo’s creative process is to determine how the fabric makes her feel, and then manipulate it around the body. It’s interesting to see the many shapes and forms her designs can take on. From all appearances, the exhibit will be a must see for those interested in fashion.
Yesterday I attended the Sunday with the Magazine panel discussion with TheNew York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn as moderator. The discussion centered on First Lady, Michelle Obama and her fashion choices. The panelists were fashion designers Narciso Rodriguez, Maria Cornejo, and Thakoon. All of whom have dressed the First Lady.
It was refreshing to hear the designers speak openly and frankly about issues, or stories we’ve all been talking about on blogs. One topic in particular centered on the criticism of Michelle Obama by well-established designers about her clothing and designer choices. On this topic, they were extremely vocal and did not hide their displeasure. The consensus among them was that the First Lady has ushered in a new era, and her process of selecting designers to dress her is far more democratic now than in the past.
The audience was also made privy to little facts that were not widely known. For instance, Thakoon shared the story behind the pink dress and matching coat worn by Michelle Obama in France at her meeting with Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Apparently the dress was commissioned in anticipation of Inaugural Day, but it was too cold to wear it. We all know that she wore a yellow Isabel Toledo dress and coat instead and it was suitably lined. Thakoon said in hind sight, he would have lined the dress with a warmer fabric.
When asked by Ms. Horyn if they have noticed an increase in sales since the First Lady started wearing their designs, they each answered that it was hard to quantify sales specifically tied to Michelle Obama. However, they stressed that publicity gained from the First Lady’s patronage could only benefit their businesses.
We have been inundated with news of the global recession and now, Swine-Flu. Sometimes we all need a little diversion from reality. Here’s a video from Newsweek that has been edited to feature Michelle Obama as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, or as they call it, America’s Next Top Superfirstlady. It gave me the biggest chuckle. Each time I view it I find myself laughing at the absurdity, but I am mostly surprised at Newsweek’s great sense of humor. Hopefully you will find it amusing as well. You need not be a follower a Tyra Bank’s hit, America’s Next Top Model to appreciate the hilarity.
Here’s a video of fashion designer Brian Reyes from New York Fashion Week Fall 2009 as he talks fashion, the economy, and Michelle Obama. He is pleased with The First Lady’s decision to embrace young designers, and would welcome the opportunity to dress her. It is refreshing to hear from a young designer, and to get his take on Michelle Obama’s fashion selections.
Yesterday we discussed Michelle Obama’s positive impact on J. Crew’s stock price, the retail industry, and the economy. Today it was revealed that another fashion designer, Arnold Scassi, takes issue with the First Lady’s wardrobe choices. He suggests that she should pick a few designers and work with them exclusively. I wonder if he would be interested in being one of the selected few. Should Mrs. Obama take Mr. Scaasi’s suggestion, she would end up excluding so many young and talented designers. Mr. Scaasi has had the privilege of dressing other First Ladies for decades. It is time to share that honor.
Michelle Obama breathes new life into a system that was getting stale. The global economy is in a tail spin, including the fashion industry. Now is not the time for the First Lady to prop up a few well-established designers, at the expense of new talent. It’s time to step out of the box and bring back excitement to fashion. Michelle Obama’s approach to her fashion selection is just what the industry needs. Every talented designer has the chance to dress the First Lady, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. A return to the old ways would be unthinkable. [The Cut] via [British Vogue]
Here is incontrovertible proof that the First Lady’s fashion choices do have an impact on the bottom line of the fashion companies she chooses to wear. Her wardrobe selection goes beyond the aesthetic value, it now affects stock prices. According to a BloombergTelevision report, which can be viewed in this video below, J. Crew’s stock price has increased by almost 80% since Inauguration Day. The First Lady has worn J. Crew on the Tonight Show, pages of Vogue and abroad in London. To state the obvious, Michelle Obama is good for the retail industry and the economy.
The First Lady was the subject of our Rollcall list yesterday in Michelle Obama’s Overseas Style. Her fashion choices while on the world stage have been the talk of the town over the last two weeks. The three selected looks were:
All of these looks elicited much conversation and debate. The two to move on to the Showdown are the Azzedine Alaia black dress worn at the NATO dinner, and the Junya Watanabe/Jason Wu teal cardigan and dress combination.
The winner of this Showdown is the Junya Watanabe/Jason Wu look. Many people had a visceral reaction to the sweater. They either praised it or panned it, but it was the perfect choice for a visit to a school of young girls. She was warm and approachable, and her style of dress conveyed that as well. Mrs. Obama was so relaxed and self assured at the school that she won us over. Take another view of Michelle Obama in that much talked about teal sweater and dress combination at Shop Talk and you will see why this is a Showdown favorite.