Obama’s years were good for fashion.
Fashion expert André Leon Talley says first lady Michelle Obama’s fresh yet timeless style puts New York designers like Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu in the spotlight, and that you can draw a line from Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama in terms of classic taste and style.
What you need to know
- The inauguration was a political and fashion milestone, but even without the glee, many fashion pundits saw the excitement of style taking place
- Fashion experts say Jill Biden and Kamala Harris were already style stars even before the inauguration
- Harris has been on the cover of Vogue magazine
- Former First Lady Michelle Obama often wears NYC-based designers
In the absence of an Inauguration Ball this year, we missed a moment in fashion history, but trend forecaster Sharon Graubard says it’s not a big loss because this political team has generated excitement.
“I think Kamala has become a fashion icon,” said Graubard. “She shows herself to be a real woman. She’s stocky, she’s wearing her Converse sneakers, she’s wearing underwear. I think it really influences the way women dress. Practical, real, and stylish.”
Style pundit George Brescia agrees it has happened to Harris, who was on the cover of Vogue, and first lady Jill Biden.
“She wore Oscar de la Renta at Joe Biden’s acceptance speech and she basically shut down the website because people wanted the dress,” said Brescia. “But it is elegance that is understated, but still has a strong message.”
And NYC designers are clamoring to dress up ladies.
“Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem,” said Brescia. “His favorite designer and stylist for a long time has been Brandon Maxwell. So maybe he’s a strong competitor. Christian Siriano, Ralph Lauren – everyone wants to do it. They don’t talk about it very often, but it happens behind the scenes.”
Steven Kolb, CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America or CFDA, said after a tough year, the buzz is good for business; fashion is the number two industry in NYC after finance.
“So it’s big business that’s about jobs, factory jobs, retail jobs, production jobs, editorial jobs, not just designer or design jobs, but all the careers that support fashion and clothing,” says Kolb.
And with the first female vice president, there will be two women to watch over, not one.