|The winning Oscar|
No, Michelle Obama has not received an early award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences— yet— but she did wear Oscar de la Renta for the first time this week. The uber-successful New York-based designer's clothing had not made it to the Obama closet until now. He was becoming conspicuous by his absence, despite Michelle having worn a custom made cocktail dress designed by Oscar's son Moises five years ago. Ironically she wore the Oscar to a cocktail party at the White House where the senior Mr. de la Renta had been invited but declined to attend.
|A Moises not an Oscar|
The party was part of a White House Fashion Education Workshop that brought together students and fashion pros including designers, business people and journalists. What fun and hooray! Although Michelle Obama has been a First Lady fashionista of a high order, the event "took this to a new level, embracing the importance of fashion as an industry for the future."*
Mrs. Obama's tenure may be "winding down" (with only two years and two months to go), but she has established herself as a first and foremost first lady of fashion. Yes, we all wanted to look like Jackie, but Jackie just wanted to look like herself. Michelle is aware of the attention she draws and the power she has to direct it. Then there are the first daughters, Malia and Sasha, who are growing up before our eyes and always look well groomed and appropriately dressed (hopefully without too much nagging from mom).
|Photogenic and fashionable First Family|
Michelle uses her visibility both to promote new designers and ensure the credibility of the old guard. Among those she's worn:
Diane von Furstenburg
Whose is that last name? Natalia Koval is a Ukranian student at the Fashion Institute of Technology whose dress Michelle wore on October 9 as part of the fashion workshop. Natalia was one of 26 students at the school asked to design a dress for an unnamed celebrity. This was a spot-on choice as it shows off Michelle's great arms and flatters her hipline. Natalia, go directly to the head of the class.
* Vanessa Friedman in the New York Times, October 12, 2014