Grazia Daily is feeling particularly patriotic this morning - and it’s all thanks to America’s First Lady.
Yesterday evening, the Obamas hosted a State dinner in Washington to welcome Chinese President Hu Jintao to the US. Powerful types, including Anna Wintour and Hillary Clinton, piled into the White House where they supped on the kind of canapés & cocktails us mere mortals can only dream of. But what’s got us reeeally excited is the breathtaking petal-print organza gown Mrs O wore. And where’s the dress from, you ask? Our very own Alexander McQueen.
It’s quite the coup for Sarah Burton - the lady who succeeded McQueen at his fashion house following the designer's death and created the Resort '11 line from which this divine dress comes from. Because not only is Obama the most formidable and fashionable First Lady, whose impeccable wardrobe has us (and Anna Dello Russo!) enthralled, but she’s become famous for championing up-and-coming talent at such grand events. For the inaugural ball, par exemple, she famously eschewed more established (and European) designers by wearing a floor-sweeper from New York newbie Jason Wu. And in 2009, at a similar dinner to honour the Indian Prime Minister, she opted for a golden gown by little-known designer Naeem Khan. So considering McQueen creations are far from “little-known”, MObama’s choice is made all the more unexpected, and brilliantly daring.
As a Chinese-American designer, and a fellow attendee at the soirée, Vera Wang [above left] would be the obvious choice to dress the President’s wife, no? Granted, the gown’s red tone was probably chosen in connection to the symbolism of prosperity in China, but we take our hats off to Obama’s brave British choice instead of a homegrown or Chinese creation. We, admittedly, might be a leeetle biased but, as Kate Betts, author of 'Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style' says, ‘she's always surprising, and that's why we're all riveted by her.' Indeed, it was only last month that Grazia Daily was applauding her decision to wear a beautiful 1950s vintage gown – a first for a First Lady, dontcha know.
Rewind a few hours and we’ve discovered it was a whole day of surprising Brit-backing for MO. At the formal ceremony to greet the Chinese President that afternoon, she was looking super-sleek in a navy wool coat by London-based designer Roksanda Ilincic, teamed with another flash of honorary red courtesy of some ladylike gloves.
And underneath the classic coat, is that..? Could it be..? Yes! It’s only a silk satin dress covered in luxurious embellishments from the same A/W ‘10 collection. Well, what a triple whammy for us Brits! And a great triumph for Ilincic too who, according to WWD, got a call about the high-profile plug while fitting garments for her next catwalk show. ‘That pieces from my collection have been chosen for this prestigious event is both exciting and gratifying,’ said the designer.
So yesterday’s ensembles are yet more evidence that Michelle Obama is seriously getting into her Brit brands. Well, they don’t call her Glam-bama for nothing! We’ve previously seen her wearing Erdem’s watercolour floral prints, as well as Basso & Brooke’s beaded patchworks and she’s long been a fan of the clothing catalogue Boden. And that’s why today, Grazia Daily is wiping a tear from our patriotic eye * sniff *
But what do you make of Mrs O’s outfit choices? Give us your thoughts below...
by Jessica Vince