Friday, April 3, 2009

Michelle Obama in Europe - fashion hits and misses

The ever-fabulous First Lady of the US, Michelle Obama is in Europe with her husband right now on his first major foreign tour.

Thus far there has been a G-20 summit, a meeting with the Queen and there is still a NATO summit and a US-EU summit to go before the whirlwind trip is over.

There is the matter of a global economic crisis to solve (G-20 leaders decided to give a trilli to the IMF as part of the solution), the Afghan war and Gitmo detainees to discuss and North Korea is huffing and puffing and threatening to shoot off a missile in the midst of all of this.

But the prospect that has really captured the attention of fashionistas the world over and had them slavering is... what will Michelle wear?

This question has quickly been followed by fevered speculation over what will be worn when Michelle meets the other glamazon First Lady - supermodel Carla Bruni-Sarkozy of France.

The thought of it has had fashionistas dizzy with excitement for the last few days and the moment finally arrived today when the two met in France. Both ladies stuck to their favourites - Mrs. O to a patterned, black and raspberry Thakoon coat and dress and Mrs. B to cool grey Dior.

[caption id="attachment_826" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="photo credit: AP"]photo credit: AP[/caption]




I was a bit relieved when I saw Michelle in the dress and saw how lovely it was because I really did not care much for the coat.

 While this outfit was both a bit of a miss and a definite hit, some of the First Lady's other choices on her Euro trip have been more straightforward. There have been some unequivocal hits - like the black, bell-skirted Azzedine Alaia she wore to the NATO concert.


The outfit she wore to meet the Queen of England was an unfortunate miss - and all because of one item of the outfit - the schlumpy cardigan she wore over a perfectly lovely sleeveless black and white silk crepe dress from inauguration designer Isabel Toledo.

Photo credit: John Stillwell/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit: John Stillwell/AFP/Getty Images

Very disappointing. You just don't toss a sweater over an outfit when you are meeting any head of state, whether titular or elected.

A smart, structured bolero like the one she wore over the previously mentioned NATO concert Azzedine Alaia outfit would have suited it better, in my opinion.




[caption id="attachment_832" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images"]photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images[/caption]

Another unfortunate miss - and another instance of a cardigan getting in the way of a good outfit was the asymetrical Junya Watanbe cardigan she wore over a teal Jason Wu dress to visit a school in London yesterday.

[caption id="attachment_838" align="aligncenter" width="353" caption="photo credit:Joel Ryan/WPA Pool/Getty Images"]photo credit:Joel Ryan/WPA Pool/Getty Images[/caption]

 I get (I guess) that Junya Watanabe is a bit more edgy but it was ugly. If she wasn't the First Lady and was not pairing it with a prissy dress and heels but was a club hipster pairing it with skinny jeans and high tops, it could have been hot. But, circumstances make the style sometimes and in these circumstances it just looked like a loud, ill-fitting cardi.

However, her hits have outweighed her misses on this trip and they generally do.

[caption id="attachment_833" align="aligncenter" width="405" caption="photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images"]photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images[/caption]

For instance, this J.Crew combination she wore on her visit to Downing Street and then to a cancer treatment facility, was gorgeous. I especially love the mint-green colour of the skirt. It may seem silly, as an islandista to mention the spring-like hopefulness of the colour, but any islandista who has lived in 'foreign' and experienced the dreariness of her first or umpteenth winter, knows what I am talking about. A bit of a colour does give you a lift.

[caption id="attachment_834" align="aligncenter" width="445" caption="photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images"]photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images[/caption]

The chartreuse (that is the colour description I see over on Obama fashion blog, boh... I woulda just said yellow...) Jason Wu dress she wore as she arrived in the UK was great. Again, a very hopeful, vibrant colour that sent political signals as well as nodded to fashion trends.

And she paired it with her fabulous studded Alaia belt that we first drooled over last year when Obama cinched the Democratic nomination.

For all those sniffing at her missteps, I know not one of them can name one thing White House mouse Laura Bush wore

in eight years. Not a fella din care.

The fact that we are paying attention to Mrs. O's clothes, when frankly she is so formidably smart there is a whole lot more we could focus on, shows what a seminal impact she's having.

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