Did Michelle Obama Abandon American Fashion Designers?


Photo: Win McNamee, Getty Images

The Alexander McQueen gown that Michelle Obama wore to the State Dinner on Wednesday night is causing quite a ruckus. It can’t be enough that she wore a stunning dress: Fashion critics and designers alike are busy reading into the message her choice sent.

Oscar de la Renta told WWD, My understanding is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade American products in China and Chinese products in America. Why do you wear European clothes? The deep red color of the gown was supposedly an homage to China, but choosing a Chinese or American-designed dress might have driven the dinner’s point home a little better. (Vera Wang, who was a guest at the dinner, would have been the best of both worlds: An American designer of Chinese descent.)

Oscar continued on to say, Im not talking about my clothes, my business. Im old, and I dont need it. But there are a lot of young people, very talented people here who do. There are plenty of American designers who Michelle Obama turns to regularly, like Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung and Thakoon, and one of those guys might have been a more PC choice for the event.

In my heart of hearts I don’t really think that Mrs. Obama had any ulterior motives with this dress, but I do see Oscar’s point. Can’t we all just say she looks pretty without getting all political?