First Lady Michelle Obama has a well-established reputation of supporting lesser-known but talented designers, and she upheld that practice with her choice for the state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It was a strapless, cream and gold number with a wrap, and was designed by Indian-born designer Naeem Khan. Personally, I’m lukewarm on the dress, because I haven’t seen it up close. Overall I think Ms. Obama looks fantastic. Normally, I admire the masters. It’s not to say that lesser-known designers are not talented, but to me, fashion is not democratic. Although my closets are not littered with designer labels, I don’t express my views about inclusion and support of the little guy through my fashion choices. Top artisans get my dollar, and if you presented a zipped up garment bag and told me that there was a Valentino in there, I might ditch the up-and-comer and go with the mystery dress. I would love, love, love to see our first lady in Gucci or Versace.
Ms. Obama, however, is the type of person with deeply held beliefs, one of which is to identify and support the potential in people. When it comes to her wardrobe for very formal events, it means going with the lesser known designer. Perhaps it’s just as well that she stays away from the heavy hitters. If she walked into an event adorned in something from a top designer, then President Obama might lose the power of speech and the other ladies would look plain.