Feb 10, 2009

Michelle Obama & Fashion

Vogue U.S. March Cover featuring First Lady Michelle Obama

The high-end fashion industry has an unhealthy obsession with First Lady Michelle Obama, every time I read coverage about it, they seem to want to reduce this highly accomplished and intelligent woman to someone who's only role in the Obama administration is to provide the fashion industry with an opportunity to congratulate themselves.
This is a woman who wears clothes from H&M and J. Crew and doesn't go out of her way to be particularly fashion forward, so the obsession the fashion industry has with her comes across as so desperate.

Here in Philadelphia, local high-end shop Joan Shepp has a window display dedicated to Michelle Obama that somehow relates to celebrating Black history month, even though the designer clothes in the display aren't all my African American designers. And the First Lady hasn't worn any of the dresses in the display either, so its just like pics of the Obama family surrounded by dresses and designer sketches selected by Andre Leon Talley. Its just feeding off the Obama brand and seems like a really weird and desperate tie-in.

Photos taken by me.


  1. Wow, that store has definitely got Michelle Obama Fever! She's seen as today's Jackie O - the new political fashionista. I guess that's the media for you, always wanting to give people labels and compartmentalize them.

  2. yea the whole thing was rather random. i was like what does this fashion have to do with black achievements and how does it relate to Michelle Obama? haha. its a cool display but it seems like a stretch and afterthought to try and tie it to Black History month.

    Also the Jackie O. thing drives me nuts, I mean if fashionistas were honest they'd say Michelle Obama really isn't that fashion forward and interesting if they need to keep mentioning the other lady.

  3. I agree that fashion's obsession with Michelle Obama comes off as desperate, but I am none too surprised at the degree of coverage she gets for what she wears/doesn't wear. Modern media has a tendency to view new phenomenons (people or events) through a lens that excitedly waits for said phenomenon to live up to icons of days past.

    Also, thanks to our information-anxiety age in and of itself, coverage of something novel is unending - the world is utterly obsessed with our new First Family, and Vogue (etc) would probably be highly criticized if they failed to produce covers and articles with her in them.

    Fashion is always looking for a cause - a new figure of influence to spotlight and funnel into its readers' minds. I think they generally do very shallow, ridiculous editorial writing and have made it somewhat of a sad trademark that the writers present a shallow, truly superficially driven side of the industry.

    And I have read some passionate, worldly fashion-oriented shit in indie mags and even mainstream mags. I hate that people use Vogue as a standard for anything.

    'Omg, rant.

  4. omg if only american vogue wasn't so fucking stale looking in every aspect ugh. whenever i see editorials from vogues around the world, its just makes the american one look so sad and trapped in some boring time where there's no experimentation or thinking outside the box. that kind of attitude is also why the jackie o comparisons annoy me D: Michelle is her own woman, she's not actively trying to be like someone else, she can pick her own clothes cuz that's what she likes. ugh