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De la Renta Condemns Michelle Obama as Fashion Icon

Photo courtesy Colin Cummins/Indiana University

Throughout her role as the First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama has also become a notable fashion icon. Many designers flock at the chance to have her wear one of their designs.

Michelle’s style could be defined as timeless yet trendy. According to NBC News’ The Grio, she wears name brands such as J. Crew, Jimmy Choo, Jason Wu, Ann Taylor and Sonia Rykiel.

She showcased one of her most prominent fashion moments last Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012 during her speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. African-American designer, Tracy Reese, created the stunning gown. Reese complemented the First Lady’s silhouette with a red silk dress that slowly faded into baby blue at the bottom. It was a sleeveless, A-line dress, showing off her toned arms. Reese was proud that the First Lady wore her dress during such an iconic event.

“Thanks everyone for sharing this amazing moment! We are all so grateful and honored to have dressed Mrs. Obama for such a momentous speech!!” Reese Tweeted.

She paired the handcrafted dress with some J.Crew Everly suede pumps in pink, a stark contrast to Ann Romney’s fire-engine red Oscar de la Renta dress. The Financial Times editor, Vanessa Friedman, put the price range for Ann’s dress in the $2,090-$2,490 price range. Similar designs to Michelle’s dress run under $500.

“What I like about her is she appears to be a very approachable person and has appeared this way for the last four years. She looks the same whether she wears flip-flops in the garden or a ball gown,” said sophomore writing and psychology major Rosario Then.

However, Michelle’s wardrobe choices are not always favored by every designer. Oscar de la Renta, a Dominican fashion designer based in the U.S., has slammed Michelle’s wardrobe choices in the past. He has criticized her for not supporting American designers. She chose to wear a gown by Alexander McQueen, who happens to be British, to a foreign affairs event between the U.S. and China.

American clothing designer Oscar de la Renta poses with a model. De le Renta has bashed First Lady Michelle Obama multiple times to the media over the year. He most recently made negative comments toward her decision to wear a dress by African-American designer Tracy Reese. Photo courtesy of kk+/Flickr.com

When the Obama family traveled to Europe, Michelle wore attire made by European designers. She wore designs made by Azzedine Alaia, Moschino and Etro. De la Renta saw this as an insult, yet again, to American designers.

The Washington Post reported him saying, “Our industry is having a very difficult time. I think it would be great if the First Lady dressed in American styles. There are a lot of talented people here too.”

Later, after realizing his comments came off as rude to the media, de la Renta included to The Washington Post, “…she has such great looks that if she put on a potato sack, she would look great.”

When Michelle visited the U.K. Queen at the Buckingham Palace, de la Renta said, “You don’t go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater.”

“I think she would have been criticized no matter what she wore,” senior history major Heather Stepro said. “She is very supportive of the president and their kids, and she is still her own person.”

Ann Romney wore one of his gowns, a red, silk knee-length dress, during the RNC. After all the harsh comments de la Renta has declared about the First Lady, he went on The View and apologized for his choice of words against her. He said that “to dress the First Lady of the United States is an enormous privilege.” Although, Michelle has yet to wear his designs.

Freshman marketing major Erika Sira thinks that Michelle’s decision to support African-American designers is a smart move, since they are less common in the fashion industry.

“I believe it was a great decision and a remarkable contribution to the fashion world for the First Lady to showcase an African-American designer’s talents,” she said.

As Election Day draws closer and closer, Michelle Obama continues to support her husband throughout his campaign while managing to stay stylish at the same time.

Stepro said the way the First Lady, or prospective First Lady, presents herself to the public is just as important as what she says onstage. She said what she wears and the image she embodies is just as strong of a message as the political ones puts out by word. “I also liked that she coordinated the nail polish. That tells me she’s not stuck up. She’s a real person… relatable,” Stepro said.
Ariel Andrew can be reached at ariel.andrew@spartans.ut.edu.
Kelly St. Onge can be reached at kelly.st.onge@theminaretonline.com.

4 Comments on De la Renta Condemns Michelle Obama as Fashion Icon

  1. R. Wilson // October 10, 2012 at 7:54 am //

    “I also liked that she coordinated the nail polish. That tells me she’s not stuck up. She’s a real person… relatable,” Stepro said.
    Hilarious. (And indicative of a generation.)
    That sort of correlation has never crossed my mind, nor have I ever heard anyone say anything like it about Anyone.
    I would have left this quote out.

    Like

  2. Seriously? The fashioin style of Michelle Obama is very important. Obviously the writer was making a comparison between her choice and Ann Romney’s choice of attire to present their husbands onto the stage. Everything you do when you are in their position send out a very loud message including your choice in attire. It is all about image. Ann Romney says she supports small businesses and yet decides to spend $2000+ on a new dress? While Michelle spends less than half that on her entire outfit. Yes I do believe there is some reading between the lines that needs to be done. Fashion, when you are in their position says a lot about who you are.

    Like

  3. Colin Cummins // September 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm //

    and is this really a story about the fashion style of Michelle Obama? Write something real.

    Like

  4. Colin Cummins // September 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm //

    That is my photo, it is not courtesy of facebook it is courtesy of Colin Cummins, Indiana University. Wow- I guess the J-school at UTampa is not as ethical as we are here at IU. Credit it please.

    Like

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