Funding the Fashionable Obamas

Published February 1, 2012

LEFT: GIVENCHY GOWN WORN BY JACKIE KENNEDY ONASSIS, COURTESY OF THE JFK LIBRARY AND MUSEUM. RIGHT: MICHELLE OBAMA IN JASON WU AT THE INAUGURAL BALL.

A list of Obama’s top fundraisers has been released on his campaign website. Many of the more famous names are not particularly shocking; the 31 individuals who managed to raise over half a million dollars included a few East Coast financiers, some “liberal” Hollywood movie moguls, e.g. Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and a surprising two Texans (they’re both from Austin).

Vogue‘s left-leaning Iron Lady, Anna Wintour, also made the list. Policies aside, it is no surprise that Wintour would want to support Obama; Wintour has been trying to keep the American fashion industry adrift during the recession with endeavors such as Fashion’s Night Out, and Michelle Obama’s tendency toward American designers is certainly not hurting. While the most famous first lady, Jackie O., favored French designers like Givenchy*—so much so that JFK’s team pleaded with her to do some very public shopping at Macy’s—Michelle Obama has been photographed wearing almost exclusively American designers. Indeed, Michelle’s wardrobe ranges from the quite established (DVF and Michael Kors) to smaller, more fashion-forward lines such as Thakoon (a Wintour favorite), Rodarte, and Prabal Gurung at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (May 2011). Think of the boost Jason Wu got when Michelle picked one of his gowns for the inaugural ball—a much more interesting choice than the Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera generally associated with First Ladies (we’re looking at you, Laura Bush).

There have been a few slips, of course. Oscar de la Renta was rather peeved with Michelle for wearing Alexander McQueen (a product of the former colonizers!) to a state dinner, but the considering the amount of press and foot-traffic that the McQueen exhibit generated for the Met last year, we think this one can be excused.

* Another Jackie O. favorite, Oleg Cassini, is technically an American designer. However, as the son of a Russian diplomat and Italian Countess who was raised in Florence, he has very strong European roots.

[WSJ]