Ever since Michelle Obama wore that red Alexander McQueen gown to the state dinner with the Chinese president, fashion pubs have been in a tizzy debating whether or not this was her best choice. Oscar de la Renta told WWD that he believes the first lady should be supporting American designers. For the record, she does. However, he asserted that she should have chosen that particular event to do so, rather than opting for the design of a British designer. She wasn’t even promoting American-Chinese trade (imbalanced as it is) by wearing something by a Chinese designer. “Blasphemy!” Really guys?
Let’s look at the facts. She looked great (all agreed?). The design didn’t have a) an American flag plastered on it, b) a Chinese flag plastered on it, or c) a British flag plastered on it. While the dress was red, does that mean she was giving an approving nod to the communist ways of the Chinese? Um, I doubt it. The color could have been navy, purple or green and still looked great with the design that I read somewhere to be described as “streaky floral.”
All of the debate surrounding this one sartorial choice has be wondering the same thing as Cathy Horyn of the NYT. Do we care too much about her fashion to even look at the positive things she’s doing with her post? I’m just as guilty as everyone else, fawning over her savvy Michael Kors dress paired with Alaia belts and J. Crew cardigans outfits. If you have time it’s worth reading both the NYT blog from Horyn and an article from the Economist that she links to in that blog. Both have important points of view that ought be considered after what we just witnessed unfold thanks to WWD, the CFDA and Oscar de la Renta.