New First Lady and First Daughter Create Fashion Buzz

Michelle Obama fashion

Malia Obama red dress

Michelle Obama’s black and red dress during Barack Obama’s victory rally last Tuesday stirred as much buzz as her husband’s victory speech.

The nation is divided over that dress. As with anything in fashion, some loved it, some hated it.

The dress is a slightly modified version of Narciso Rodriguez’s dress in September for the 2009 Spring season. Mrs. Obama wore a scoop-neck black sheath with splashes of red in the upper and lower half separated by a band of black at the hips, and a black cardigan over it.

In or Out?

In AFP’s article, Mrs. Obama’s dress got some pretty hefty comments. Some who are who were not fans of the dress have the following things to say.

"I voted for Obama, but I didn’t vote for that dress," homemaker and mother of three Jessica Bettencourt from Wisconsin told The New York Times.

"I don’t know what was worse," Chicago lawyer Karla Wright told the paper, "that stupid criss-cross band around the middle or that black sort of border coming up from the hem."

But fans of the dress and of Mrs. Obama’s fashion sense gave some pretty nice comments.

"That dress was unpretentious," Julie Gilhart, fashion director of New York’s top-price Barneys clothing store, told the Times. "It said, Be who you are — don’t let someone else tell you how to be.’"

Color code?

But more than the like and dislike for the dress, speculation as to the meaning of the dress’ colors also tickled the fancy of fashion aficionados. AFP also gathered the following comments from people who are trying to find the meaning behind the new first lady’s color of choice. 

‘ A contributor to the website of the German newsweekly Focus also suggested there was hidden meaning in the colours, perhaps red for the political left and black for the first African-American to win the US presidency.

"It is more about the symbolic effect of the colour combination red/black. Because the daughters were also in red or black. Very unusual and surely no accident," the reader said.

Others looked further than the dress and its color:

"The USA must be doing pretty well if it is worrying about the First Lady’s dress!" one typical Focus posting said.

"You may like or dislike Michelle Obama’s dress, but that’s not as interesting as the agenda behind it, because you can be sure there was one," wrote fashion editor of the London Times Lisa Armstrong.

"At the least, it promises four lively years of fashion-watching at the White House," added the New York Times. ‘

New First Daughter Fashion

While Mom had the world’s opinions about her dress clashing, little Malia got everyone united … to buy the pretty red frock she wore that same night.

The 10-year old’s red tafetta dress by Biscotti Inc. caused quite a stir.

The label was reported to be planning to put out a press release saying the Malia Obama wore the $110 dress on election night.

Bernadetter Reiss, co-owner of Biscotti Inc. reported to have been surprised to see that dress on Malia. She wasn’t sure at first whether the dress was their’s because Malia wore it with a different belt. Reiss also added that "it would have been nice to get some sales out of it." Biscotti, whose dresses are sold by retailers such as Neiman Marcus, had already old out the style even before Tuesday. Neiman Marcus reported to have seen "a blip" in sales of the dress.

Most people seem to be in agreement that the influence behind the young Obama’s dress is her mom’s fashion sense. "She has such a sense of style – I think people are going to try to emulate that whether it’s on her children or herself," says Bette Esposito, co-owner of in Boonton, N.J.

Reiss, making a reference to the cost factor, admits that they do not plan to re-cut the dress. Instead, she admitted that she is hoping to dress Malia and her younger sister, Sasha for the presidential inauguration. "We would be so honored," says Reiss who is already planning to reach out to the Obama’s to offer their fashion assistance.

Image sources: and

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