The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Double Leading: the First Lady of American politics and fashion

Posted by Athenais on November 6, 2008

Since the days of Jackie Kennedy there has not been such a strong fashion focus on an American First Lady. We investigate the wardrobe pieces of the wife of the first black American president.

The first lady-elect’s choice of clothing on the night of the elections yesterday, has sparked debate and divided opinions.

The Narciso Rodriguez black and red shift-dress, was a toned down version of the one that appeared on the Spring/Summer 2009 catwalks.

Michelle Obama did not adopt the sleeveless, plunging scoop-neck version, and teamed it with a black cardigan to to subdue the look.

The speckled red panels on the dress, however, were enough to catch the attention of the elect’s supporters.

The New York Times reported that many Americans viewed the look as a lapse of taste.

In spite of this, the stylish First Lady still had some heavyweight fashion fans. The fashion director of Barneys New York, Julie Gilhart, spoke in high terms of Mrs Obama’s choice: “That dress was unpretentious, it said, ‘Be who you are – don’t let someone else tell you how to be’” she told the paper.

Michelle Obama’s style has been scrutinised throughout the presidential campaign and she seems well on her way to become a fashion icon.

New York designer, Elie Tahari, praised for his quality ready-to-wear collections, told WWD: “’She will ignite the fashion industry. She is young, pretty, smart and well put together. These are a lot of great qualities.”

Presidential Trends


America’s First Lady is style-aware, and widely supported on the fashion front by influential names such as Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker.

She is making this year’s Vanity Fair best dressed list, and the leading Democrats couple are quickly becoming a favourite of the fashion world.

Jean Claude de Castelbajac centred his Spring/Summer 2009 collection around the controversial yellow Obama mini-dress. The dress received an encouraging ovation, as well as insult letters, the designer told the Daily Telegraph.

He added: “I’m pleased to see that fashion has become such a powerful medium.”

In the same spirit, Zac Posen encouraged people to vote blue in a video blog, last week. He told WWD: “I think blue obviously is the colour of choice, and red is a good accent colour,”

The 44 year-old, Michelle Obama is a Princeton and Harvard educated corporate lawyer. She has proved she enjoys spending her six-figure salary on fashion designer pieces, from Azzadine Alaia to Moschino.

With a taste for adventurous labels and sometimes theatrical accessorizing, her style is a departure from the conventionally austere fashion traditionally favoured at the White House.

And her fashion supporters seem to think it is for the better. In his video on FASHIONTHEVOTE.ORG, Zac Posen stated that voting and politics is “about people expressing their individuality.”

Michelle Obama is expected to apply his “look good doing it” fashion advice to the White House.

Now everyone waits to see if Michelle Obama will be the second ever First Lady to feature on the cover of Vogue, after Hillary Clinton in December 1998.

by Anastasia Porret, amadeo_ld@hotmail.co.uk

Click here for backup article on fashion-famous First Ladies

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