Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fashion Celebrates Michelle Obama from WWD June 19, 2008

For her first official meet-and-greet with New York's fashion industry, Michelle Obama adhered to the cardinal rule of style — she wore all black.
At a fund-raiser in her honor Tuesday night, Obama chose to wear a black ensemble by Isabel Toledo, accented with a striking costume necklace by Tom Binns. The potential first lady arrived promptly to the reception at the Sikkema Jenkins & Co. gallery in Chelsea, minutes after hosts André
Leon Talley, Anna Wintour and Shelby Bryan. (The other co-host, Calvin Klein, who opened his Perry Street home for a private dinner afterward, arrived later on the arm of his daughter, Marci.) Once inside Talley introduced her to the crowd, which included Catherine Malandrino, Erin Fetherston, Cynthia Rowley, Lisa Airan, Thakoon Panichgul, Ralph Rucci, Julie Gilhart, Amanda Brooks, Iman, Chris Benz and Yigal Azrouël, who had paid either $1,000 or $2,300 to attend. And, according to one source, the crowd was "pumped" by Obama's presence, in spite of the soaring temperatures inside the venue.

"I'm excited for Obama becoming president," said Zac Posen, who was wearing a "Yes, we can" T-shirt emblazoned with Barack Obama's face under his suit. "I think it's always great for someone who represents our country to look good, but most important is for the values of our country to be in place."

Peter Som echoed those sentiments. "I think she's amazing," he said. "Michelle and Barack are hopefully the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And she's fabulously styled. She seems that she has an amazing sense of self. She has impeccable taste, so she is not going to need any help from anybody else."

Tory Burch, in preparing for the event, had been reading up on her. "I have a lot of questions, but I'm just excited to meet her," Burch said, adding of her style: "She has a great figure and is so easy to dress."

At the reception, Obama spoke for an estimated 20 minutes about meeting and falling for her husband while working at a law firm in Chicago. They were the only two African-Americans at the firm, and he was a summer associate and she was the lawyer to whom he was assigned. According to sources, Obama spoke of how she was initially less than impressed with her husband's background, odd name and ears, even as he kept asking her for a date. Eventually they went out for a sandwich and then to a church she always visited, where he sat with people in the basement and explained how they needed to change things. She praised her husband's ability to connect with people at all levels. She talked about how there is a choice in this country between "the way things are" and "the way things should be," said one observer.


  1. Ahh : ) she wore Isabel Toledo. Excellent style.

  2. I love how Michelle Obama is interested in American designers, particularly Isabel Toledo who produces her line in the US as well as designs it here (no overseas production).

    Michelle Obama has made many careers in these months. When she wears a designer their popularity goes up tremendously, as what happened with Donna Ricco a few months ago. It really promotes American designers who are struggling at the moment. It means so much to the industry.

  3. It's interesting to see how influential politics have become in fashion and vice versa. It is great to see Michelle sporting American designers and bringing recognition to homegrown talent. Sort of reminiscent of what Jackie O did for Oleg Cassini- I know comparing the Obamas to the Kennedys is a bit tired, but if the shoe fits...