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Michelle Obama hasn't worn Oscar de la Renta at all during her time in the White House, even though the designer has been a First Lady favorite for multiple administrations. That is, until Wednesday, when Obama appeared in an Oscar de la Renta dress for a cocktail party following her White House Fashion Education Workshop. And New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman reads a lot of meaning into the fact that the First Lady chose this particular party at this particular time to finally wear de la Renta.
"Think of it this way: For the last seven years, the first lady's clothing has been the subject of intense scrutiny, which she has leveraged pretty effectively. She wore the de la Renta dress at the public event, in front of most of the United States fashion world. There's no way she wasn't aware of the messaging potential of the moment," Friedman writes.
By wearing Oscar de la Renta in front of the brand's fashion industry peers, Friedman thinks that Obama was "acknowledging its place in American fashion." And the dress could've been a sign to show that there isn't a feud between the First Lady and the designer, who criticized Obama in the past for wearing Alexander McQueen to the Chinese state dinner in 2011 and for wearing a cardigan to meet the Queen.
And maybe it had political meaning as well. Friedman writes: "It was also a quasi-olive branch to the social and political establishment, which loves Mr. de la Renta, as well as, perhaps, a covert nod to Mrs. Clinton, who is famously close to the designer (and whose maybe-possible presidential campaign Mr. de la Renta has already endorsed)."
· Why It Matters That Michelle Obama Finally Wore Oscar de la Renta [NYT]
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