Friday, 9 November 2012
First lady style
In the wake of Obama's win of a second term in office, the fashion world's eyes are focused, yet again, on Mrs. Obama. Let it be said - I love this woman, her energy, the passion that shines through, the way in which she dedicates herself to her favourite causes, but still manages to give off the impression that, at the end of the day, she's just a regular mom and wife. Hats' down to you, Michelle.
Still, let's put things into perspective a little bit - she is not a Barbie doll, not a Hollywood starlet and not a model. There should be some limits for the small talk about her clothes. Yes, on ocasion, her clothes have been used to highlight some important underlying message about economics or about how women are being perceived, as well as being used as a silent support of one or another minority or as an instrument of diplomacy (something which had not really been done since the days of Jacqueline Kennedy). More often than not, however, I think clothes are simply doing what they are meant to do: highlight her beautiful frame in the best possible way and simply make her look nice. At the end of the day, not every item of clothing is fraught with meaning. And, somewhere along the way, the conversation went from being about whether the outfits were event-appropriate (a legitimate point, given her position) to the gossipy "What was she wearing when she was planting veggies in the backyard of the White House?"
It is clear that the relationship between fashion and politics has and will continue to be very strong. Indeed, the style industry played a major role in Barrack Obama's campaign this year, who counted Anna Wintour as one of his most fervent supporters. I, however, rapidly lost my appetite for it when I read how Diane von Furstenberg (the brand, not the woman) was quick to rebuke Ann Romney for wearing one of their designs because their commitment was to Obama. People, fashion should be indiscriminate, not take sides - this is losing sight of what fashion is all about and should make us all rethink things a little bit more.
I don't imagine, however, that the fascination for Michelle Obama's style choices will fade down anytime soon, more so because it undoubtedly helps boost her husband's popular appeal. And, as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis proved so well, fashion can carry you with your chin up through the toughest of times. So here's to looking forward of another 4 years of Mrs. O style adoration. I sure hope she keeps it interesting.