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Monday
May182009

O-Mazing! 

Photo by Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

This is too much for us! Mrs. O made an appearance this evening at the American Ballet Opening Night Spring Gala, wearing a metallic black sleeveless dress. The corseted top and full, sculptural hip (what we can make out of it), appear to have an Elizabethan influence. We are dying to know who made this dress.

Update: The Associated Press reports that Mrs. O's dress is Azzedine Alaia.

An anonymous tipster reveals Mrs. O has owned this Alaia dress for two years, and decided to pull it out of her closet for last night's event. The First Lady accessorized with Loree Rodkin earrings and diamond bangle bracelets, the same worn on election night. We must say, Jill Biden looks equally O-mazing, in a Spring 2009 Reem Acra dress. These are seriously chic Americans.

Photo used with kind permission from our anonymous friend

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Reader Comments (203)

Revelation! It appeared to me that what some were calling a "pilgrim collar" was just a flat piece of material that was sown in a weird way to the arm openings of Mrs. O's dress. I've just discovered that it really IS a collar! Here's how I made the discovery. I've noticed that if I highlight a photograph, as though I'm going to copy it, structure and shadow become more visible. When I highlighted the close-up of Michelle on Huffington's site, I was so surprised! Seeing that the fabric up top really is a collar lets me see that the arm-holes are not as uncomfortable as they appeared.

Highlighting the group picture above really shows the difference between the shiny fabric and the mat. I still think the dress is top-heavy, and it's not my favorite, but I admire Mrs. O's freedom to enjoy such a variety of styles.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

Thanks Willow!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarmen
Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

P.S. Maybe these details are visible on the newer monitors -- without highlighting a picture. I'm viewing things on a very old monitor. (I refuse to get the newer one my husband keeps suggesting because it is so large, and would intrude too much on the look of my room (smile).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

Wow, I did not see Dr Biden's dress before. Goodness. Red carpet-worthy!

Not crazy about the fishtail, but she pulls it off. Lovely flow and movement, beautiful color, flattering style and fit. And appropriate -- I don't think long dresses were called for here.

Incidentally, she is not really a grandmother, she is Biden's second wife and somewhat younger than he is -- they have a daughter.

She has a stunning, perfect figure (check out her belle poitrine in this dress) and is very pretty with excellent taste. My only quibble is her hair -- the style is so Camilla Parker-Bowles, and it always looks dry and bleached out. She should try a shorter cut, like Gov Jennifer Grantholm has, or longer and smoother.

Still, both ladies looked fabulous.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:37 PM | Unregistered Commenternonpasserat

Some combo video of the Met, as well as Mrs. O talking at the American Ballet Theater--an above shot of her as well speaking at the podium:

www(dot)cnn(dot)com/video/#/video/politics/2009/05/19/natpkg.michelle.obama.arts.cnn?iref=videosearch

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJanelle

Some combo video of the Met, as well as Mrs. O talking at the American Ballet Theater–an above shot of her as well speaking at the podium:

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2009/05/19/natpkg.michelle.obama.arts.cnn?iref=videosearch

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJanelle

Jill Biden was born in June, 1951.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

Trudy, thanks for the reminder about Mrs. O's crinoline and the gorgeous Toledo dress @ Ford Theater. I remembered that I was actually thinking about the time she wore it with the Toledo to visit the Queen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered Commentermeta

@ Janelle - your 5:40 pm comment was spot on.

I'm actually happy that Mrs. O isn't always "spot on" with her clothing - I think the issue of her being a fashionista would really overwhelm all of the other issues she will take on, if every time we saw her, she was always looking "wow." Right now, her fashionista title is a side issue...it's just one aspect of her overall persona. If her outfits were just knocking it out of the park every time we saw her, I think the expectations would be too high and would end up pigeonholing her as a fashion model First Lady, and I don't think that would be fair to her.

Every time she wears an outfit that people don't really care for, but is typical Mrs. O, I am happy because I know that she is still doing things on her own terms.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterIVA

Mrs O look different from others with their so called traditional ball gown.
I do appreciate this typical, precise line outfit.
She hit the rock also with her eyelashes. It give her a glamour touch. Some uses false boobs , so i dont see problem with that eyelashes.Her make up is fine...well done!! though i would choose pastel color for the lipstick.
Mrs O, you are a wonder lady !!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterginger

Quick question--Whatever happened to Michelle wearing Maria Pinto? Kinda miss Michelle wearing her a bit.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 7:28 PM | Unregistered Commentermickelo

Nice dress on Mrs. O. However, I love Dr. J's dress! Interesting how the 1st & 2nd ladies are wearing cocktail dresses and all the others are in full-length gowns.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 8:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterStrong

All of the women look beautiful. The dresses reflect their personal stlyles. I love fashion and I am taking notes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterApril

I love this dress on Mrs. Obama. And, I think it is lots of fun to have a fashion forward First Lady. She looks great in this dress. I like it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan

FLOTUS looks stunning. Love her independence and boldness. Wear what you want Mrs Obama and work it. In my opinion she does not owe any designer a duty to lift their sales or whatever. Its not in her job prescription. I just don't understand this double standard that is imposed on her but was neverimposed on other first ladies.

So what she likes to dress different, does that mean she owes those designers an "effect" on sales. We ought to be fair. What i dislike most is just the unfairness i see when it comes to Mrs Obama.

As for her fashion, keep taking risk and just be yourself. You make women like me and my friends feel empowered. We don't have to look like everyone else, we can be unique and bold. Your fashion showcases your individuality. Thank you

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 8:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrianna

i prefer Jill Bidens dress to Mrs O's not that it isnt nice but i dont think it really suits the occassion especially seeing how the other women are dreassed and before someone goes off on me bout Mrs O wearing whatever she wants , fine but you must dress to suit the occassion......can you wear jeans and sneakers to say an inaguration ball.
its a nice cocktail dressbut the style and colour just dont cut it for the occassion.
Mrs Bidens bow at the back adds the wow factor without it it would have been drab for the ocassion

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 9:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterAna

Does anyone know what designer Caroline is wearing?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterShelly

Hey Carmen:

Here's a link to one of the articles I read regarding Mrs Obama and how it was clear she was there for the kids...

You may also search for it:

"Purple Reign: Michelle Obama Makes a Splash at the Met"

http://www.wwd.com/fashion-blogs/purple_reign_michelle_obama_ma-09-05

"No matter: it was clearly the kids for whom Obama had shown up, though she graciously shook hands with the front row after speaking to the small crowd -- a number of well-coiffed, well-heeled donors made up the rest of the audience -- about the importance of all-inclusive arts organizations. She even had the audience giggling after mentioning that she had forgotten that her first date with the President was indeed at a museum, as the Met's president, Emily Rafferty, had noted in her introduction ("It was obviously wonderful," Obama said. "It worked!")."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

Hey Carmen:

Here’s a link to one of the articles I read regarding Mrs Obama and how it was clear she was there for the kids…

You may also search for it:

“Purple Reign: Michelle Obama Makes a Splash at the Met”

A bit from it:

“No matter: it was clearly the kids for whom Obama had shown up, though she graciously shook hands with the front row after speaking to the small crowd — a number of well-coiffed, well-heeled donors made up the rest of the audience — about the importance of all-inclusive arts organizations. She even had the audience giggling after mentioning that she had forgotten that her first date with the President was indeed at a museum, as the Met’s president, Emily Rafferty, had noted in her introduction (”It was obviously wonderful,” Obama said. “It worked!”).”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

Both our FL and SL look smashing. Both of their dresses are edgy in their own way, but with those bodies and their elan, they pull off the looks, IMHO.

I marvel at the stamina of these two extraordinary women. Previous posters have mentioned that MO dresses for herself, and it would seen that Dr. J does as well. I find that admirable.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

Regardless how everybody might feel about our Flotus, this man who is smitten and madly in love with this woman, that matters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QAvfXeISzI&NR=1

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterbret

Thanks for the link Audrey!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 11:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarmen

I wanted to throw in my 2 cents. I really like the uniqueness of Mrs. O's dress. I like that fact that she is comfortable going with what she likes and not with what is necessarily "in." Also, I think Dr. Jill looks stunning. Someone commented they thought her dress was too young, but I would have to disagree. It is a dress for a woman and she certainly fits that category. She is also really wearing those lovely strappy heals. Also, someone said that Caroline Kennedy was the best looking, but really I thought she was the most plain. No real effort in the dress, the hair, or the makeup. There is nothing wrong with what she is wearing, but compared to Dr. Biden and Mrs. O she looks like she put in less effort on the ensemble.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterDee

I like the dress the FLOTUS has on. I would have liked it to be a full-length gown though for this occasion at the Met. I like the sculptural shape of the dress. It makes it interesting and unique. I do think her lipstick is too dark though.
Dr Biden's dress I have to say after seeing it on Halle Berry months ago, I'm not feeling it on Dr Biden. She has a great figure but she doesn't have the curves to pull this dress off.

The purple outfit wasn't my favorite. I loved the color but it didn't fit properly. It was different designer to the collection so that is always a plus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 12:22 AM | Unregistered Commentermicaro9

who knew Dr. Jill Biden had it in her, her dress is amazing!!

I must say, all the ladies in this photo looked amazing!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterLayo G

In defense of Caroline Kennedy, I think her style is to always dress in a very under-stated way. Expensive, high class clothes for occasions like this, but never fussy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 1:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

OK, I need to break down and get that new, bigger monitor. I checked out this site on my husband's much newer laptop, and it shows details I could never have dreamed existed in all these clothes. Mrs. O's dress here looks much better with a newer, more capable viewing tool! :-) Who knew?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 1:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterWillow

I am curious what is leading some people to the conclusion that Mrs. O's dress wasn't formal enough for the occasion. (No seriously, I'm really wondering where that comes from.) Is it because it is not a floor-length gown? Jill Biden is not wearing a full gown. Floor-length is not an automatic marker of formality, as the maxi-dress trend has shown.

Is it because it is not sequined or drapey enough? Because it definitely sparkly. So where is the idea coming from that this is like an average cocktail dress? Whether one likes it or not, to me it seems to be quite formal and appropriate for a gala, but I'm wondering if folks are seeing other images of this that I have not. (Entirely possible.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 3:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

IMHO Mrs. Obama's dress is just "okay" but her feet are much more gracefully posed in the group photo. Mrs. Biden is overdone and Caroline Kennedy looks simply elegant.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 7:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Christina for myself, it's just a dress that could have done for a daytime engagement - If I didn't know, it looks like Mrs O didn't have time to change before going out. It's not even as glamourous as the suit she wore for the Met Opening! (Again, for me.) It's dark, drab, stiff, uncomfortabe looking, not glamourous, short. If you compare it to the Time Magazine gig last Monday, we all fell off our CHAIRS when we saw that. This is just a dress. And a not particulary flattering one at that. I'm not intending to be nasty here, I'm just saying it didn't work for me.

"The fact that “The world sits up and takes note” of what Mrs. O wears does not mean that it necessarily translates into sales for the diverse industries involved" Lilly O
"it seems like common sense to me that nobody could turn around the finances of a fashion label or chain in a single fiscal year, let alone a few months" moja 31
J Crew sold out of every item Michelle has worn. So did White House Black Market. I've seen brooches in shops in the UK stocking brooches as part of the jewellery lines for the first time since my grandmother was alive. Designers have already commented that they are receiving SO much more interest if Mrs O wears their stuff. I have just bought a Hattie Carnegie brooch on Ebay. I will buy more Mrs O inspired stuff and I will be looking to the US shops who ship to the UK.

To say that it can't be proven that Michelle is having an effect already is a tad naive. She's having a huge effect. It might take a while for the figures to come in, but she's doing it.

Mrs G, Dee, thank you for responding to the the Dr-Biden-age-appropriate-dress comments so respectfully. I wanted to say something about that but wasn’t sure how. You’ve done so beautifully. I think she looked fabulous and I've never seen her in anything that wasn't perfectly suited to her.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 8:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterPosh Tater

Mrs.O takes risks, and with that, she will not always please her audience. For me, I liked her dress, for it's daring and different from all the rest. She never have to worry about some other woman in the same dress, at the same event. Following her style daily, I'm realizing how beautiful she is from the inside out, and she is coming into her stride, and with time, I hope she will still surprise us and won't give into the pressures.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterpeggy

Posh Tater Black Metallic for a daytime event? I don't think so...I love the dress

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered Commentermimi

No different to a silk cocktail dress that's been shortened!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterPosh Tater

@Posh Tater: I just don't see it the same way, but, differences are what makes the world go around.

As for MO's effect on the fashion industry, I certainly understand why a publication like WWD would cover this. But in a larger sense, I don't know why anyone else should or would care. MO never promoted herself as a stimulus package for the fashion industry, so whether she is having an effect or not is immaterial, isn't it? I mean, it's not as if she "succeeds" if everyone starts wearing Peter Soronen now, or "fails" if no one does. I assume she just buys the clothes because she likes them and for no other promotional reason.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

That dress is bad!! *Bad in a good way, duh! I love the gunmental color..wow! Michelle does it again = ]
I love it so much that I'd want to get one for myself!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterdi

who else is in this pic? looks like it might be ck's husband, and then- ??

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJois

You know, this is the very first outfit Michelle Obama has worn that I absolutely despise. I haven't loved every outfit Mrs. Obama has worn, but I've always understood their appeal and they have grown on me. I even liked the Prague outfit with the bow. But this one, especially with the petticoat, I cannot comprehend. It just doesn't sit well with me. Oh well, the Met opening dress was amazing and her legs had me breathless. I know she's using some cocoa butter on those legs!
I can see why some people thought her exposed arms were too much. Her appendages are so long and beautiful, they can come off as sexy, even when she doesn't mean for them to.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 3:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterwillet784

Jois,

The photo is captioned at: newyorksocialdiary dot com
it says:
Caroline Kennedy, ABT Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, ABT Executive Director Rachel Moore, Mrs. Michelle Obama, Sharon Patrick, Edward Fox and Dr. Jill Biden

Also, if you scroll down a bit on that website there are several more photos of the ladies that attended the event in their formal gowns.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeah D

Interesting. I also see pictures there of men who are wearing tuxedoes with long ties. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 5:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristina

You very naughty & mischievious girl Christina...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterC.

Oh Snap! Where have I been! Mrs.T I haven't logged on in two days, and you go and post this full length picture making me feel as if I've been living under a rock!

But, I adore this dress! This is some serious fashion here. In the group shot Mrs.O looks as if she should be on the stage dancing with the rest of the ballerinas - pointed toes and outstretched arms and not among these "older folk". Another memorable piece if you ask me...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 8:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterRocky

Mrs. O's dress is so edgy (altho 2 years old) that it puts pretty glamour to shame! I think folks in that particular crowd would be impressed by it.

Also noticed that Francisco Costas (designer for Calvin Klein) escorted two women wearing dresses that were also not floorlength.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterdesertwind

What an awesome link Bret! So well done - thanks for sharing!

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 3:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterCamille
Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrenda

Brenda,

Thanks for that shot of the dress from Time. The dress looks 100x better to me in that shot than from this one. She looks like one of the ballerinas in the time shot versus looking like imho like a woman who has her slip down under a 1950s style dress.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterwillet784

While Carolin Kennedy Schlossberg's gown was entirely fabulous, she should have found a fabulous bra to go with it. Underpinnings are the foundation for any great outfit.

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 4:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterChristen

Mrs. O needs to ditch that full tulle petticoat. It spoiled the black knit Alaia gown she wore - in Strasbourg? (Sorry, I forget) Alaia was doing that skirt with various tops as far back as 2007, if not earlier, and it is designed to fall in soft vertical ripples, with the bottom of the skirt just firm enough to hold it out and keep it looking perky and smart. The rippling skirt is supposed to move when one walks.

Now that same tulle petticoat spoils the architectural line of this almost tulip-shaped skirt. Stuffs the skirt full and hangs too far below the dress's hemline.

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

To me, she is at her style best when she chooses dresses that go beyond our imagination. This is her signature.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 5:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterMcKinley

SHE LOKKS AMAZING

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterMA LAPAL

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