As we await more fashion revelations from Mrs. O's inaugural wardrobe, let's take a look back at one of Mrs. O's more spectacular (but under-examined) accessories from the campaign: the lush purple feather and bead brooch. We saw Mrs. O wear it on CNN's The Larry King Show performance, pinned to a sleeveless top. And she also wore it on her Narciso Rodriguez striped jacket at a National Partnership for Women and Families event in Washington, D.C.
It is a playful, ultra-feminine piece of jewelry; it acknowledges vintage style while embodying a decidedly contemporary tone. The designer is Carolyn Rosenberg, a Chicago-based jewelry maker. In an exclusive interview with www.Mrs-O.org, Rosenberg told us that she started by taking classes in metalworking at a Chicago arts center. From there, she branched into expanding her designs.
"I had a collection of vintage feathers from my great aunt, who had been a milliner," she says. "And so I used them when I was commissioned to do a very small collection of pins." Who commissioned her? None other than boutique owner Ikram Goldman. Rosenberg loved the idea of repurposing the gorgeous feathers, although she frequently dyed them; to anchor the feathers, she used beading in the same tones. Rosenberg knew that Mrs. O had one of her feather pins - "I was asked to make a purple one for her because she had seen some of the other feathered pieces" - but she didn't know when Mrs. O would be wearing it. Then Mrs. O appeared on the Larry King show with the purple feather pin high on her shoulder and Rosenberg's phone starting ringing. "All the relatives recognized it immediately and started calling," she says.
Currently Rosenberg is finishing up her second collection, which is based on vintage beading and embroidery work collected from flappers' dresses. "Sometimes the dress can't be saved because of tearing or deterioration of material," she says, "but the bead work is wonderful." No one has seen this collection yet, but Rosenberg hopes that maybe one day Mrs. O will wear one of those pieces, too. "Regardless of who or what she's wearing, I can't think of a better spokeswoman for today," she says. Naturally, we agree.
Photo by Kevin Mazur for the Presidential Inaugural Committee / Creative Commons
We try to refrain from gushing, but on this occasion we find it more difficult. As Mrs. O walked down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for this afternoon's celebration, the reality that she will be our First Lady finally sunk in. In her style today, we saw a subtle shift befitting of her new role - was it possible that she looked even more impossibly elegant and polished than ever before? For today's celebration, Mrs. O wore a thoroughly well-styled ensemble in camel and black. Her black top sparkled with beaded embellishment radiating from the neckline, and was paired with a camel color knee-length wool skirt. A signature black belt added definition at the waist. Mrs. O's look was topped by a long black scarf and camel color wool coat that coordinated with her skirt. Her coat also brought an unexpected detail - a black lining - that drew the eye in and seamlessly blended with her black top and scarf. Black leather gloves, patent leather kitten heels and long sparkling earrings added polished touches to what was overall, an incredibly cohesive and memorable look. A quote in the current issue of Time from designer Thakoon Panichgul was evoked instantly when we saw Mrs. O this afternoon:
"She is someone with authority and style that people can look up to," says Panichgul. "It's a new way of looking at fashion ... this is about confidence, power and intellect. It's about something more real."
And on that note, we will spend the rest of the evening celebrating you, Mrs. O, and your truly remarkable family. Perhaps this goes without saying, but we look forward to the next several days with unbridled excitement. Today confirmed at least one thing for sure - a tastemaker and style icon, you already are. Update: The LA Times reveals that Mrs. O's ensemble yesterday was the work of Narciso Rodriguez, the same designer responsible for her fashion forward, though somewhat controversial red and black election night dress. Mrs. O has a long history with the designer, wearing his clothes throughout the campaign and notably, for her 2007 photoshoot with Vogue. While we assume yesterday's ensemble was a custom creation, the coat, in particular, appears most inspired by this look from the designer's Fall 2007 RTW collection. The contrast of the ivory wool and interior black lining creates a similar graphic effect to yesterday's camel and black combination. Booth Moore of the LA TImes described Mrs. O's look as "strong, elegant and above all modern." The Presidential Inaugural Committee has released photos from Sunday's events on Flickr. The Huffington Post also has a great slideshow of Mrs. O's recent looks, including close-up images that better show the "sparkle" detail of her top. And per the LA Times, Mrs. O was indeed wearing Loree Rodkin earrings for yesterday's celebration (as suggested by our own Mrs. C in the comments section!)