obama
Oscar de la Renta, the grand old man of American fashion, Park Avenue aristocrat and husband of Metropolitan Museum of Art vice-chairman Annette de la Renta, offered up some astonishing advice to First Lady Michelle Obama in a page one story in Friday’s Women’s Wear Daily, criticizing her choice of clothes for a visit to Queen Elizabeth (“You don’t go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater,” he sneered) and, more generally, her taste for fringe and young designers and big, accessibly-priced brands like J. Crew. “American fashion right now is struggling,” he told writer Bridget Foley. “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.” WWD went on to pointedly note that Obama has also failed to flaunt the Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan labels. The Conde Nast-owned trade paper’s reason for showcasing Oscar’s whining is obvious: it’s big, powerful and obscenely-rich brands like his and the others that are keeping CNP’s magazines and its suddenly perk-challenged staffers glossy these days, not the little and typically more creative lines like Jason Wu and Isabel Toledo that Obama favors (she wears Toledo in the photo above). But why is Oscar being a cry baby? After decades as the in-house designer for White House women, he’s found himself out of the loop, poor thing. Still, flaying the wildly popular and seriously stylish First Lady for supporting fledgling brands that need all the help they can get in the Great Recession? Not classy. Not constructive. And not a very stylish career move.