Oscar de la Renta Slams Michelle Obama’s Fashion Choices

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Michelle in Strasbourg wearing an Etro print top,
Moschino white shirt, Gunex black pants, and
tailored Alaïa jacket.
Photo: Getty Images

Michelle Obama has worn American designers almost exclusively since her husband announced his campaign for president. On her trip to Europe last week she branched out to European labels and wore a dress and cardigan by Azzedine Alaïa, tops by Moschino, and a top by Etro. It seems fitting to wear a smattering of European labels on European soil. But Oscar de la Renta is not okay with this. "Our industry right now is having a very difficult time," he said. "I think it would be great if the First Lady dressed in American styles. There are a lot of talented people here too." And she has been wearing them. Perhaps realizing the severity of his remarks, de la Renta added, "Look, she has such great looks that if she put on a potato sack, she would look great."

But this is the second time de la Renta has criticized Michelle's fashion choices in as many weeks. Last week he told WWD he didn't think she was taking the right sartorial direction.

“American fashion right now is struggling,” says Oscar de la Renta. “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.”


On no — she wears young designers and affordable things and the world loves it. Tragedy. Sometimes we wish Michelle would branch out and wear more things from places other than the Ikram boutique in Chicago, but we can't fault her for not doing so. Maybe looking for new stores to shop at — like Oscar de la Renta — and new designers to wear — like Oscar de la Renta — isn't her top priority as First Lady. De la Renta also had harsh words for the outfit Michelle wore to meet the Queen:

“You don’t,” he declares definitively, “go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater.”


Well, Mr. de la Renta. The Queen half-hugged that sweater.

Grace Under Fire [British Vogue]
Dressing Michelle: Major Designers Wait for First Lady's Call [WWD]
Earlier: Michelle Obama Wore Moschino, Alaïa, and Etro in Europe