Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Dress: Politicians can be Trendmakers, Too


Michelle Obama’s retro dress caught some serious eyeballs during today’s inauguration. The Los Angeles Times reports on Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress:

Just as President Barack Obama turned the page on American history Tuesday in Washington, First Lady Michelle Obama is turning the page on American design. The lacy lemon-grass ensemble she chose for the swearing-in ceremony wasn’t by one of the aging custodians of the 7th Avenue Establishment Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan or Calvin Klein. It was by Isabel Toledo, a Cuban American whom nobody knows but everyone should.

By wearing clothes by up-and-coming designers such as Thakoon, Maria Pinto and Toledo, Obama is helping to promote a new generation of talent, and write the next chapter in American fashion.

Toledo, who sells at Barneys New York, has been designing under her own name for 20 years in New York, and was briefly creative director for Anne Klein. (Bet they wish they’d hung onto her now!) She is married to fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo. “She’s never been about making clothes to make herself famous,” says Rosemary Brantley, founding chairwoman of the Fashion Department at L.A.’s Otis School of Art and Design, where Toledo has been teaching since the 1990s. “She’s about flattering the figure and she’s curvaceous herself.”

With its retro “Mad Men” silhouette and trendy yellow hue, the dress and coat proved that Obama can strike a balance between being conservative and taking risks.

Fashion is a business and Michelle Obama means business.

The new class of politicians certainly has the power to create instant new trends. I’d be willing to wager that the country hasn’t had this kind of political fashion fever since the Kennedy days. Remember Palin’s glasses? Well, Michelle might be next, although only some people can pull off the mottled yellow sparkly thing and pea-green gloves she wore today.

Personally, I dug Obama’s coat.

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Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.