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Oscar de la Renta's Comments on Michelle Obama Ruffle Feathers

Oscar de la Renta's Comments on Michelle Obama Ruffle Feathers

>> Last week, Oscar de la Renta drew a lot of heat for his frustrated comments on Michelle Obama's decision to champion small fashion houses, wearing Thakoon and Jason Wu over Donna Karan or Ralph Lauren:

American fashion right now is struggling.  I think I understand what [Obama and her advisers] are doing, but I don’t think that is the right message at this particular point . . . I don’t object to the fact that Mrs. Obama is wearing J.Crew to whatever because the diversity of America is what makes this country great. But there are a lot of great designers out there. I think it’s wrong to go in one direction only.

He got particularly pointed about Obama's choice of an Alaia cardigan to meet Queen Elizabeth: “You don’t go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater.”

Needless to say, fashion community feathers were ruffled — Paper's Mickey Boardman blogged a piece requesting de la Renta to "hush": "It's beneath de la Renta's dignity as an elder statesman of American Fashion to consistently complain and criticize a First Lady who has done so much for American fashion."

But Oscar's sticking to his guns »

Boardman also pointed out that de la Renta is "VERY associated with Republican First Ladies . . . [He] was the designer of choice of Cindy McCain, and if Cindy's husband Senator John McCain had won the election we're sure she would have been wearing tons of de la Renta."  Though he did dress Hillary Clinton for the inauguration earlier this year — so it seems to come down to the fact that in forging a new image of first lady style, Oscar doesn't fit Michelle's tastes.

But despite backlash, Oscar's not ready to step down.  Yesterday at his bridal show, he reiterated that Obama's decision to wear a number of European designers — Alaia, Moschino, Etro — during her first tour of Europe didn't sit right with him: "Our industry right now is having a very difficult time. I think it would be great if the First Lady dressed in American styles. There are a lot of talented people here too.”  But instead of picking at it further, he decided it was time for a compliment: “Look, she has such great looks if she put on a potato sack, she would look great.”
*image: source

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