Fashion Decision ’08. The First-Lady Dress Mess

November 6, 2008 • Celebrity Style


Michelle Obama in Narciso Rodriguez on election night & Narciso Rodriguez RTW Spring ’09 Runway

I really wanted to avoid this topic like the plague quite honestly. Yet, people have been asking why I have not posted any comment on Michelle Obama‘s election night ‘dress.’ Truth is, when I found out it was a Narciso Rodriguez dress the first thing I thought was, ‘thank God for Chicago designer Maria Pinto it wasn’t her design.’ The second thing I thought was, ‘Narciso must be pissed.’ But props for the Chicago Bulls colors (red & black).

Truth is I love everything Narciso Rodriguez designs so this pains me probably as much as this negative publicity does him. I was actually at the designer’s Spring ’09 show and I still did not recognize the dress as his when I first saw it. Then again, if you look at the picture comparison above, it doesn’t really look like the same dress.

For one, there is a whole lot more fabric and therefore, red in Michelle’s. The pretty sheer skirt detail is missing entirely (which is probably how it will go to market). The dress did not fit Michelle properly (a stylist should have fixed this) and the satin banding cut her the wrong places making her look larger than she really is. Narciso Rodriguez dresses are meant to be worn very fitted. Satin also reflects light which can show lumps on camera. Lastly, if she was chilly and just grabbed that little black cardigan at the last minute, it was a fashion-faux-pas with the styling of that particular dress. It threw the proportions off entirely.

Michelle managed to make the dress look almost pedestrian. It was a risk that did not pay off. Hell hath no furry like a woman scorned and Michelle Obama has been scorned about this dress ad nauseam. There, I said it. Ouch.

– Lauren Dimet Waters

Photos: ABC News & NY Mag

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7 Responses to Fashion Decision ’08. The First-Lady Dress Mess

  1. Poor, Michelle. She’s getting so much flack. I’m of the minority who LOVED the dress. So happy to see a first lady be unconventional and not run for the safety of a Chanel suit. What ruined her outfit was that sweater. But, I’m sure she was just cold. I am on a hunt for that dress for myself!

  2. Lauren - SCS says:

    I agree that she is getting way too much flack, but welcome to the life of the First Lady. This will be here life for the next 4 years. I would have liked her choice if the dress had fit properly and she had not put on that damn cardi! So what if she was cold? Wear a different dress or suffer for fashion! I do every time I put on a pair of 4 inch heels!
    That dress will be available in a few months. It’s from his spring ’09 collection so it’s not available for mere mortals yet…Unless ABS knocks it off!

  3. Carol says:

    My first thought on her dress was “very cool!” but “very wrong” for the venue. Too artsy, too much black and better suited for a cocktail party. I just knew that people would not get it. “There is no red dress, there is no blue dress…I was frankly sad about that…” (My eyes forgivingly took the cardigan off!) But with the reality of cardigan on came dowdiness. A friend of mine thought that maybe it was good that she appeared “almost pedestrian” as you said… to bring the new first lady down to earth…But no need for her to look like she has bad taste! Well she has plenty of time to make up for this!

  4. shannon says:

    Personally, I am a fan and collector of NR and applaud Mrs Obama on picking a designer with some umph. However, we all need to be realistic about what our unique body shape allows or disallows us to wear. My guess is that Mrs Obama had some misgivings along the way with the piece. Any staffer present who did not speak truthfully to her about the unflattering style on her should be released from duty ASAP.

  5. hephzibah says:

    i love the dress to tell you the truth… i think they did alterations to the dress from the original make to make it more appropriate for the NEW FIRST LADY…
    the sheer, and the low cut of the original dress would not be appropriate for her to dress…
    and i’ve gotta give her kudos for being bold to wear a dress like that, only she could pull this off.

  6. ksikora says:

    I think we have a “real” woman in the white house now and it is great! How many of us look though fsahion mags and buy a dress because we like the way it looked….on the 90 lb 15 year old…..ouch is right.
    And look at her pictue in the paper today – the baseball cap and the hoodie – just a Mom juggling her job and her responsibilities…..I hope she stays this way.

  7. Mitzi says:

    I loved Michelle in that dress! I thought it was unexpected and stylish. Maybe I’m just happy to see anything that isn’t a pantsuit… 😉

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