Why Should Michelle Obama’s Glamour Be Startling?

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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn noticed that the reactions to Michelle Obama's latest state-dinner ensemble — a sparkly blue dress with a lace-up back, curly hair, and blue eye shadow — are generally gushing. But she also noticed that some were "startled" by the look:


Mrs. Obama’s clothes have made a statement before, but this time people seemed startled by her full-on glamour. Reaction on blogs has been generally enthusiastic, though someone on the Huffington Post referred to her look as “Lady Gaga Alejandro Style.” Not sure what that means, exactly. Lady Gaga is like a sticker that be applied to anything the least bit sparkly or bouffant. Mrs. Obama’s dress, by Peter Soronen, had a corseted bodice with a lace-up back and blue chiffon layered over lamé chiffon and silk.

Meanwhile, in photographs, the President has the gruff forbearance of a high school senior trying to look cool in front of his hot date. Of course she’s blowing everybody out of the water, including him.

Is America having a tough time adjusting to a First Lady that likes to look a little trendy, and even a little sexy, when she dresses up? This was certainly one of her more va-va-voom looks, but fashion-wise, she's always been creative for a First Lady. It's not Oscar de la Renta, pantsuit, Oscar de la Renta, pantsuit. Just because she's in Washington doesn't mean she has to be predictable. If she likes dressing up, should that be such a surprise? And if we're going to compare this look to anyone, let's go with Diana Ross, which is who Horyn compares her to. Not Gaga. She's not Christina Aguilera, after all.

Michelle Obama’s Blue Note [On the Runway/NYT]
Earlier: Michelle Obama Wore Shiny Blue Peter Soronen, Curly Hair to the State Dinner