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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 10:12 PM
Original message
The First Lady Sends Message With Dresses
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 10:17 PM by question everything
JANUARY 22, 2009

The First Lady Sends Message With Dresses
Immigrant Designers Embody Quest for American Dream, Echoing President's Speeches
By CHERYL LU-LIEN TAN
WSJ

(snip)

Yet what was most interesting about Mrs. Obama's style choices for her first day as First Lady was not the ensembles themselves but the message she telegraphed through the designers she picked. Her day dress and matching jacket were created by Isabel Toledo, who was born in Cuba but left as a girl when her family fled to the U.S. in search of a better life. Mrs. Obama went off the beaten path of well-known designers again when choosing her evening gown. The dress she wore was made by Jason Wu, a 26-year-old Taipei-born designer who lived in Vancouver and Paris before interning in New York for Narciso Rodriguez (whose work Mrs. Obama wore for other inauguration festivities) and then launching his own line in 2006. The designers embodied multiculturalism, the universal immigrant's success story and the quest for the American dream -- and their frocks, as a result, were much more than just pieces of silk and crystals stitched together. They provided a powerful visual symbol of the struggles and triumphs that Barack Obama has spoken of in his sweeping speeches about this country... Despite a powerful fashion establishment, it is still possible to find designers whose meteoric rises echo Obama's own.

(snip)

Carefully thought-out messages were present, too, in the Obamas' daughters' outfits. The ensembles picked out for 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha appeared calibrated for challenging economic times. Jenna and Barbara Bush were outfitted in high-end Badgley Mischka for the 2005 inauguration's evening festivities. But Malia's periwinkle blue coat and Sasha's bubble-gum pink coat -- as well as potential evening ensembles that weren't seen by the public since the girls skipped the inaugural balls -- were designed by American retailer J.Crew, according to the label. For the children, it was important "to make sure that they were wearing things that were festive but not out of reach for many Americans," says Patricia Mears, deputy director for the museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. "The underlying message of this momentous occasion is that she's standing up and saying that Americans make great designs, and 'I'm going to stand as a symbol for American creativity.' " Mr. Obama, whose attire has been far less scrutinized than his wife's, also opted for American-made evening attire, with a classic tuxedo by Chicago suit maker Hart Schaffner Marx.

(snip)

Mr. Wu, a designer whose work only recently got picked up by major stores such as Nordstrom, said that when Ms. Goldman contacted him in November, requesting a formal gown for an unspecified event, she only had one request: "sparkle." While Mr. Wu says he didn't dare to hope that the dress might be for the inaugural balls, he felt pressure to produce a gown that would convey many things for "a moment of history: It had to be powerful, beautiful, striking, and convey her exuberance and intelligence."

(snip)

As Mrs. Obama settles into her new role in the White House, the scrutiny of her fashion choices will only increase. Fashion pundits and laypeople will likely make even more sport of dissecting the cost of her outfits, the idea that she's spending money purchasing the pieces or, alternatively, the idea that she's borrowing them. The pressure to perform, to strike just the right note, will likely intensify. Even Mrs. Obama's Inauguration Day choices, though still edgy in her choice of designers, seemed just a touch safer than her usual fare. The dress she wore for morning church services and the swearing-in ceremony was conservatively high-necked and fit loosely, unlike the body-conscious shifts she wore while still on the campaign trail. The soft, rather coquettish inaugural-ball gown posed a sharp contrast to the bold looks and striking shades of purple and crimson that have marked Mrs. Obama's style.

As time passes, will her sartorial choices become more conservative? Will she be less likely to take chances on the Jason Wus of the world? Fans of the U.S. fashion industry hope not.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123258054131504207.html (subscription)
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rwheeler31 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 10:26 PM
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1. She is tall,fit and humane, who would not want to dress her.
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 10:29 PM
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2. Intellligent, well-thought out choices...just as would have been expected from the new first family.
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 10:49 PM by BrklynLiberal
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 01:07 PM
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3. Kick. Symbol of the Obamas' America (nt)
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DemReadingDU Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 06:41 PM
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4. evening kick
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 07:17 PM
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5. I LOVE her style
I sure hope she keeps it. :thumbsup:
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 07:38 PM
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6. Which dress says Luca Brazzi sleeps with the fishes?
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