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At this point, it's practically impossible not to think about Michelle Obama as soon as anyone mentions Tracy Reese. So when we spoke to the designer at last week's Project Runway viewing party, we couldn't resist asking her about FLOTUS dressing. Here's what she had to say.
We love the way Michelle Obama dresses. It's so different from any previous First Lady.
Yes, it's not that premeditated First Lady look. She dresses for her. She expresses her own personality through her clothes. You never get the feeling that it's what's required: the textbook, the handbook, the pamphlet, "What First Ladies Must Wear."
How did she start wearing your designs?
I met Mrs. Obama at a fundraiser before the first term. She said to me, "I love your clothes. I need to be wearing your things." And I thought, "Oh that's easy." But it wasn't that easy, because you have to go through people and you have to be asked.
We got a call from [Chicago boutique] Ikram during the first year of the Obamas being in the White House—maybe the first few months. She was on the cover of People magazine [wearing a Reese dress], but I think she had requested it herself because Ikram doesn't carry our price point or our collection in her store in Chicago.
How has dressing the First Lady affected your business?
It's been amazing for us. Women love to be able to access what she's been wearing and our clothing is at a reasonable price point. They know that they can go on our website or go to one of our retail partners and hopefully find something that they've seen her wearing. Those pieces always have a great sell through.
Your clothes make a statement. Even men who normally don't pay any attention to fashion were talking about Mrs. Obama's Democratic National Convention dress last summer.
We ended up selling quite a few of those. Men love that dress.
And that was not a typical First Lady dress.
That was a Michelle Obama dress.
· Michelle Obama Wears Repeat Prabal Gurung to Church on Easter [Racked]
· Michelle Obama's DNC Dress Is On Sale at Anthropologie [Racked]
· Tracy Reese Judges Project Runway: I'm Afraid To See Myself" [Racked]
· Tracy Reese [Official Site]