Uh oh. It seems Michelle Obama Herself may have slightly flawed the otherwise perfect Election Night Rapture. Apparently the red and black not-yet-available-to-those-earning under $200,000 or $150,000 or even $120,000 dress she wore that unseasonably warm perfect Chicago November evening has stirred a controversy; according to the Chicago Tribune
Unlike Laura Bush, whose attractive and low keyed clothing choices were generally not commented upon and Senator Hilary Clinton's (D-NY) pantsuits as well as Governor Sarah Palin's (R-Alaska) clothing subsidies and moose hunting parkas which were subjected to mocking analysis, Michelle Obama's outfits generally drew gushing praise.
The Tribune's Wendy Donahue, aware she was dealing with a local First Lady To Be, delicately expressed her disappointment with:
Tuesday night's dress--with its "Star Trek"-like molecular burst on the front ("Beam me up, Barack") and crisscross sash--comes hot off the spring 2009 runway collection of Narciso Rodriguez, one of the most critically acclaimed of New York Fashion Week.
Unfortunately, two key tweaks to the runway version of the dress, presumably made to take it from cocktail-sexy to first-ladylike, disrupted its intentions and architecture. (Check out the sleeveless original at style.com.)
First, the lengthened bodice. Second, the cardigan that Obama layered on top.
These additions took the dress' lines from intriguing to distracting. Viewed from various TV camera angles, its seams always looked slightly askew and confused. Also replaced was the sheer, short hemline seen on the runway.
But in early returns from a people.com poll, 65 percent of respondents said they "hated it." At home, not wanting to be unpatriotic, Chicago stylesetters gave clipped answers when asked their opinion of the dress: "Not my favorite on her," said Jim Wetzel, co-owner of the Jake boutiques.
Oh dear. What a come down for a woman fashionistas anticipated
moving past the comparisons to Jacqueline Kennedy on to modern French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
And just how did Obama know about this dress that hasn't been released to those in the lower wage brackets promised lower taxes? In true Chicago D(d)emocratic transparent style
Obama must have made special arrangements to procure it for Tuesday night. The driving force behind its adaptation from the runway remains a mystery. Spokesmen for Obama and Rodriguez weren't spilling details.
Earning more money, as did Michelle Obama whose salary rocketed well above her husband's definition of those who should "spread the wealth around" four years ago when he became a present voting Illinois state legislator, does have its privileges.
But then again, Donahue gushingly ruminates
Perhaps Obama diverged from a Chicago designer as a way of reinforcing her husband's national leadership.
Or maybe Obama, whose taste spans the price spectrum from White House/Black Market and J. Crew to Pinto and Rodriguez, just liked this dress.
Clearly, this is a woman who does not submit to the directives of a stylist. Whether you liked the dress or not, that's refreshing.
So when President Barack Obama is awakened at 3am by that phone call announcing that crisis Vice President-elect Joe Biden warned us was coming, he'll find Michelle already awake and loins girded as she burns up the other White House lines solving a major woman's problem--what to wear?
And the stylistas will be right behind her.