…I thought I’d share something that absolutely shocked me back around the Inaugural, that I haven’t had a chance to put up. It’s a highly critical (oh, yes) piece about THAT fashion icon which appeared in our little men’s edition newsletter from Women’s Wear Daily. I finally had a chance to track down an online link to the thing and, as you can imagine concerning any piece ripping the exquisite Michelle Obama, the comment section is alight with oh-so-nasty venom towards Bridget Foley, author of said column. Ergo, my initial delight in said column’s sentiments must have been on the mark.
In the WWD print edition, it was titled (and emphasis, mine):
A Secret Disservice
One can just imagine the countless sets of soulful, eager eyes. “Pick me! Pick me!” they surely cried out in longing. But in a moment — make that two moments, one morning, one evening — hope died, and all but a few went back to their under-known, under-loved status.
How does Michelle Obama get a pass on the ridiculousness surrounding her inaugural wardrobe selections? The whole thing would be merely silly and undignified if it weren’t so disrespectful of the time and resources of others, some of whom have little of both at their disposal.
“DAWG!”, I thought. “Am I READING THIS IN AN INDUSTRY RAG?!?!” I’m sure I blinked a couple times.
It goes on for a few paragraphs of Inaugural fashion history and I can’t even say a real swipe at Laura Bush ~ also another surprise. But then DAMNED if she doesn’t go in for the kill on the over-the-top excesses/slobbering idolatry of the current ICONISH First Lady of
ALL the Fashion WORLD the United States…
…You know the story: Isabel Toledo by day, Jason Wu by night and suddenly, Michelle Obama was patron saint of fashion’s emerging and offbeat. Four years later, Thom Browne and Jason Wu, again. But before Thom and Jason, many designers submitted looks. WWD reported more than 15 did so; the rumors go as high as 30. Submissions included pieces created especially for Mrs. Obama and clothes from current collections.
The First Lady wanted to keep her looks secret until the big reveal, OK. The inauguration wasn’t a wedding, so as far as we know, no bad luck was involved in letting the news out. But fine. Her choice. Yet why the secrecy about the designer? Why not a simple, elegant statement from Mrs. Obama’s office in advance of the events? “Thom Browne and Jason Wu have designed Mrs. Obama’s inaugural outfits. Mrs. Obama has requested that they decline queries from the press.” Would Browne and Wu ignore that request? Probably not.
…and then fatally injects COMMON SENSE, questions Michelle’s MANNERS and tactfully points out that, contrary to the Obama’s actions ~ GASP!! SPANK!! ~ THEY ACTUALLY AREN’T ROYALTY!!!
…From the human standpoint, clothes should not have been solicited from so many people. That’s right, not brands, firms or houses, but people. Sketches, fine. Conversations, fine. But to have had so many designers put effort, resources and emotion into making clothes is just not nice. And 15 or more designers? What woman in search of an event dress has a short list of 15 favorites?
Mrs. Obama isn’t an indulged starlet primping for the Oscars, nor should she behave like one. Women everywhere have big events for which they select a single dress in advance of the moment. Some of those women and some of those events are high-profile. (See: Kate Middleton; wedding to presumptive future king.)
That Mrs. Obama will likely wear the clothes procured as inaugural options in the future isn’t the point. None will have the impact of those she chose for Monday’s events, nor of the clothes she wore early during the President’s first term; such is the sartorial downside of incumbency. At the very least, with five minutes of attention she could have cut the list to a couple of finalists.
As it was, Mrs. Obama’s fashion team needlessly disappointed and possibly misled many hard-working people, some of whom hoped vainly for a much-needed commercial boost.
For those still hanging in there, 2016 will be here before you know it.