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Saturday, April 4, 2009

First Lady of Fashion

Michelle Obama is mixing it up during her first visit to Europe with the President. Wearing some of the same young foreign-born US designers she wore before and during the inauguration such as Jason Wu and Isabel Toledo, plus looks from J. Crew, while adding some new foreign names such as Azzedine Alaia (Tunisian-French) and Junya Watanabe (Japanese).

But missing from her designer list are the big names who have dominated the industry in the US for years. And some of them are a bit concerned.

Leading the criticism was Oscar de la Renta, a favorite of several former first ladies. "American fashion right now is struggling," he told Women's Wear Daily. "I think I understand what [Obama and her advisers] are doing, but I don't think that is the right message at this particular point. I don't object to the fact that Mrs. Obama is wearing J. Crew because the diversity of America is what makes this country great. But there are a lot of great designers out there, and I think it's wrong to go in one direction only." He also added a comment about her look to meet the Queen, saying "You don't go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater." All because The First Lady wore a black and white silk satin crepe Isabel Toledo sleeveless dress with a black Azzedine Alaia cardigan, which she later removed after leaving the Royal Palace.

Vera Wang, another famous name who has yet to be worn by Mrs Obama, struck a slightly wistful note. "I love seeing young designers and their vision and how they grow," she told WWD. "On the other hand, I wish she would consider some of us, because I think we also have contributions to make."

Donna Karan remained hopeful that her moment would come. "I hope and believe that this is just a moment," she said. "And I hope to be able to dress her, and not only dress her but address her in person. I'm interested in her totality as a woman."

Bridget Foley, executive editor of WWD, added her own message for Mrs. Obama. "Like the auto and financial industries, fashion is in crisis," she wrote. "Yet the person in the administration best positioned to support its major players - those whose collective vicissitudes play into the economy in a considerable way and whose individual swings of fortune impact the lives of countless working people up and down the supply chain and their families is giving them the cold shoulder. And we don't mean Donna Karan's. No one's asking for a big-gun bailout. But how about a shout-out?" A bit much, no?

And then there was that whole arm around the Queen thing...

All and all I didn't think Michelle looked as bad as the press were reporting. Besides this was only an informal royal visit.

However Bonnie Fuller decided she would declare this the First Lady's "first fashion dud." Oh and Bonnie didn't like Michelle's hair either.
What do you think?

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