January 20, 2009

Inaugural Chic

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Gossip on Michelle Obamas inauguration dress is running wild. Her fashion tastes are being combed over in more detail than Kate Moss’s or Angelina Jolie’s. We all want to know: will Michelle be another Jackie O, elegantly clad in her own design? Or, like Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, will Michelle opt for a local designer — potentially at the expense of true chic? Hillary’s purple, sparkling Star Trek-esque dress from 1993 fell flat. Her second shot (after deferring to Oscar de la Renta) — a champagne sheath — was more in her own style (a predecessor to myriad colored pantsuits from her 2008 campaign).
Michelle comes after a suffocating tradition of sequins, pastels and matronly jackets. While Barack Obama talks a big game on change, many of the suggested dresses by designers for Michelle are boring and passé. Designers like Betsey Johnson and Christian Lacroix want to wrap up the new first lady like an American cupcake, in all red, white and blue and ribbon bows. If Barack could get out of wearing the American flag pin on his label during campaigning, Michelle should be able to convey patriotism without fashion propaganda. After Sarah Palin’s $150,000 fiasco with her hugely overpriced wardrobe, hopefully Michelle Obama will continue to look well dressed while avoiding the most expensive designers. The economy is tough, but then again, why not go big? We haven’t seen this much sexy in the White House since Jackie O.