Thursday, February 12, 2009

Let Her Be Your Guide.

There is a very strange article in today's New York Times about Michelle Obama's wardrobe habits. Apparently Mrs. Obama's style choices have been largely facilitated behind the scenes by Chicago boutique owner Ikram Goldman. For some reason this is examined at length and scoffed at by the old guard of designers who used to handle dressing previous First Ladies. I get their concern; the off-the-rack items garnered from one particular boutique become infinitely more valuable in the consumer market and push specific sales in a way that original garments, designed as one-offs don't. So, the article makes liberal use of the phrase "conflict of interest." I smell sour grapes. Throw out the handbook, people. This is a new administration. Things will be done differently. How many real women do you know who have in-house designers sketching their wardrobes? Alternatively, how many real women do you know who shop in boutiques, who have relationships with a shop owner who helps them find what they need and make tough style decisions? Michelle Obama is a fine example of a real woman in the world, now she's just in the glare of the spotlight. She's doing it her way, a very practical way. I see Michelle Obama as a practical woman who has lived a life of reality. She's never been couture be-decked. She dresses in J.Crew, The Gap, democratic stores open to everyone. It's nauseating to witness the dissection of the global/economic/market impact of every single wardrobe choice she makes. Yes, the fashion industry is suffering, and yes, the new First Lady is a style star, but that doesn't make it her responsibility to rescue an industry, or play by the old rules. It's time to deflate, reevaluate, and reassess the fashion world. The First Lady is doing her part, now the design establishment needs to follow suit. Change, adapt, throwback a nice tall glass of reality, and move on in new ways. Let Michelle be your guide.

Photo: Getty Images via The New York Times.

1 comment:

Alyse said...

Nice post. I read this article this morning and had similar thoughts. The NYT portrayed Goldman as some shady almost controlling character. Even her photo, which I'm sure wasn't courtesy since she refused to be interviewed, was a little Cruella De Vil-ish. Just because Michelle isn't having Oscar de la Renta over for tea doesn't mean there is some kind of shady business going on.