Oscar de la Renta says ‘a first lady’ does not influence fashion today, speaking on Michelle Obama
Designer Oscar de la Renta has weighed in yet again on first lady Michelle Obama. Speaking at an event in Mexico, he revealed that he is not at all perturbed by the fact that Mrs. Obama has never selected the storied couturier to outfit her.
“It is a relation that began poorly and I think it will end the same way,” de la Renta said of himself and the first lady on Friday. The designer is famous for openly criticizing Mrs. Obama for wearing a cardigan — one of her signature pieces — during her first visit with Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.
Yet, de la Renta has famously dressed other first ladies including Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. It only seems logical that he would at some point be donned by Mrs. Obama, who has worn a wide variety of designers — albeit, designers who are younger and edgier such as Jason Wu and Reed Krakoff — but she has worked in more conservative labels such as Ralph Lauren.
Plus, according to leading style site Fashionista.com, de la Renta has stated that he would like to be added to her list of preferred clothiers. But, speaking at a fashion gala in Mexico City last Friday, he seems to have changed his tune. Rather than gaining her attention, de la Renta said “an anonymous woman on the street is the woman who influences fashion today, not a movie star or a first lady.”
Fashionista.com opined, “we’re pretty sure both parties will be just fine without each other,” which is very likely the case.
While de la Renta has an almost unmovable popularity among older, monied women, such as former first lady contender Ann Romney, the current first lady has made her distinctive style mark by choosing relatively unknown labels older women might view as fashion risks.
Michelle Obama has been almost universally lauded for her sartorial tastes, most recently being ranked number one on the best-dressed list of The Sunday Times’ Style Magazine in the United Kingdom. But attitudes are not 100 percent in the first lady’s favor on that side of the pond. British designer Vivienne Westwood made international headlines recently for calling Mrs. Obama’s style “dreadful.”
“I don’t want to talk about it. Really, I can’t,” she elaborated in a talk with The New York Times. “She’s a very nice looking lady, but it’s a nonstarter regarding clothes that suit her. Jackie Kennedy was a different matter altogether. It just has to suit her and be something that makes a human being more glamorous. That’s what fashion is there for. It’s there to help, not just to make you look more conservative.”
Westwood and de la Renta are two of a handful of public figures in fashion who have spoken negatively about first lady Michelle Obama.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.