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Fab Blab: Celebrity Stylist Robert Verdi Gabs About Michelle Obama Style

Robert Verdi and I go way back. I first met him when I attended my first New York Fashion Week, when he was still host of Full Frontal Fashion on Metro TV in New York. The year was 2000 and he was asking my stylish roomie and me about our outfits. For Fashion Institute of Technology sophomores, that's a big deal. Plus, he went to F.I.T. too so we just gabbed and gabbed. Verdi is still very much around styling Eva Longoria, interior designing for the stars, hosting television shows and speaking to us about our next first lady's style at the Juicy Couture 5th Avenue store opening party. He's not the gushing type, and he spoke a bit about the Jackie O comparison people have been making. Nonetheless, interesting stuff. Listen up!

“Here’s the skinny: She looked like a lava lamp [after Obama's acceptance speech] and we all know that. I didn’t like that light bright dress and I think she could have made a better choice. I like that she wore an American designer, I think she should continue to wear American fashion and speak the style of the nation in her public appearances and then move towards an international flavor."

To read the rest,

"But all things being equal her choices are a bit provincial. That’s not to say she doesn’t have the style bug — it's just to say that her choices are provincial. People have been likening her to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who was a grand dame, of course, an iconic American fashion. But the similarities are that they both like fashion and they both embrace contemporary style. The difference is that at Jacqueline Kennedy’s time, style was really something that was distant from the people. So she wore Gucci and Halston and people couldn’t go to H&M — they couldn’t go to Juicy Couture. I think Michelle does the same thing. She does contemporary fashion but what’s contemporary today is much broader and much more affordable. I do hope that she kind of polishes it up and wears more stylish versions because she’s worn some, like I said, provincial things.”


Join The Conversation
zoomoda zoomoda 8 years
As First Lady, Michelle Obama is going to have to step away from the pedestrian stores like H&M (not American), JCrew and White House/Black Market and go designer. I don't want to see our First Lady looking like someone from the Junior League or a soccer mom, she will be representing the US on the global scene and needs to look dynamic and sophisticated. American designers like DKNY, Calvin Klein, Narciso Rodriguez (we can forgive the misstep on election night) are probably already clammering all over her. She's not going to be a Nancy Reagan or Jackie O, that's already apparent. I agree, it will take her a bit of time to find her style groove - there will be some fashion blunders along the way. At least she will be better dressed than Hilary.
syako syako 8 years
Come on guys - she, alone, made $300,000 a year. I can't relate to that nor do I think that's an "average" or normal salary :shrug: I'd go more with oozing, but maybe I'm just a pauper. :P
steaknegg-salad steaknegg-salad 8 years
While I agree with the lava lamp comment, I have to say it is refreshing to see a first lady who isn't oozing money. Perhaps it was a political strategy to make the Obama's not the "elitists" they were made out to be by the McCain(who is married to an heiress himself)camp. Now that she will be the first lady, public appearances should look classy and expensive. But seeing her in an H&M dress will always make me love her more. Fashion shouldn't be out of reach and it shouldn't promote excess especially given our current economic crisis.
fancifulfabi fancifulfabi 8 years
"she looked like a lava lamp" lmfao! She totally did! In general though she looks great and I don't see anything wrong with her wearing JCrew.
hardcorecupcakex hardcorecupcakex 8 years
I agree with robert has to say.I didn't like the red and black dress neither.I don't get the comparisons between her and Jackie O
altair4751 altair4751 8 years
Um... Hello?! The dress IS by an American designer! Narciso Rodriguez is from New Jersey!
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I think he's being honest, and I really appreciate that. Michelle is pretty hit or miss, but when she has a hit, it's really great. I'll definitely be watching to see how her style grows, she's got great potential. And I'd bet that her style WILL evolve with this much attention being paid to her clothes.
jemison jemison 8 years
Last comment to cfp and lilkimbo: of course Jackie O was brilliant- she was a Miss Porter's School girl after all;)
jemison jemison 8 years
I think Michelle wears the flats in order to not stand taller than her husband. I think her style is fabulous. She has had some outfits when it doesn't all make sense, but more often than not she gets it right. I also like that she takes risks. While I will agree that her silhouettes are classic she chooses prints and colors that are far from contemporary, especially for a political wife. I thought the "lava lamp" accented her figure nicely and looked fantastic. Finally is there anything wrong with dressing modestly or "provincially"? I'd rather have a first lady who shops at J.Crew and teaches by example than one who lives extravagantly in a time of economic crisis. She is a smart woman in more ways than one.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Jackie O. also attended Vassar and the Sorbonne before graduating from George Washington University. She is said to have impressed many foreign dignitaries with her wit and intelligence. Later in life, she was a book editor, brought a great deal of attention to African-American literature, and worked to preserve historic areas of D.C. and NY. There is more than one type of strong, successful, intelligent woman. Jackie O. had a lot more to offer than style and good looks, as well.
cfp cfp 8 years
I think she's nothing like Jackie O, nor does she want to be like her. I'm sure, of course, that she doesn't want to be on any worst dressed lists, but Jackie O stopped at style icon whereas Michelle is a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law...I think she wants people to know that she has more to offer than just style and looking good next to her husband.
kerish kerish 8 years
This was very refreshing! I also didnt like the dress...I guess its symbolic...eplosive excitement.. Red for Passion Black for Strength.. I think Maybe ppl are accustom to the other ladies who participated in teh election look so sober. The suits worn by hilary and the cardigan over shoulder by Mccains wife like sosority sister,well where wld you put Michelle who dresses a bit contemporary?I guess its easy to say she is "like the fashion icon of the election".....provincial..hmm....I would like to see her polish her looks a bit ...and I dont like flats,,,too mommy dearest....However women we express who we are by what we wear... I think she is going for STRONG BLACK WOMAN ...not a Jackie O
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I agree with everything he said. I think Michelle has great style potential, but she hasn't realized it yet. Sometimes, she hits it out of the park. Other times, something is just off. My favorite outfits of hers so far were the purple "fist bump" dress and a black skirt and ruffled blouse look I saw her in. I disliked the election night dress and the dress she wore to the NAACP Image Awards. I'm curious to see what she does for the inaugural balls.
theglossarie theglossarie 8 years
Love him! And Michelle.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
Good. And I really hope we're not going to have to pretend for the next 4 years that she's a style icon.
gabiushka gabiushka 8 years
Fresh air.
syako syako 8 years
Wow. I'm really surprised at his comments about Michelle O. It seems like everyone else in fashion is just slobbering over the whole O family. His honesty and frankness is definitely interesting. I'm interested to see how her style evolves too. I hope to see more of the looks like that purple dress and less of the 'lava lamp.'
RosaDilia RosaDilia 8 years
Like Jackie O they'll be no other. Michelle has a laid back, comfortable style. She doesn't seem to be the type to make everyday a fashion show.
esweet esweet 8 years
I don't get the Jackie O comparisons. I think Michelle looks great, but Jackie O is JACKIE O. There have been very very few people who can live up to that kind of iconic style. I just don't see it here
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
More like Jacqueline Smith than Jackie O.
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