Designers Sketch Gowns for Michelle: Thakoon, Maria, Narciso Missing in Action

From left, designs by Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Betsey Johnson

WWD solicited sketches from more than twenty top designers of Inaugural Ball gowns for Michelle Obama. Some, like Michael Kors's and Diane Von Furstenberg's, were not only lovely, but truly appropriate for the occasion. Others, like Betsey Johnson's, seemed like a long shot. But of all the designers who participated in the exercise — Marc Jacobs, Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld, Carolina Herrera, and Zac Posen, to name a few — key players were missing, namely Michelle's favorite designers. Where was Thakoon? Maria Pinto? Narciso Rodriguez? Jason Wu? It's unlikely WWD didn't ask them. The article states:

[H]er current favorites, as well as a few majors, declined WWD’s request for sketches. Some are loath to presume to offer unsolicited advice, while others, it seems, are definitely in the Inaugural sweepstakes and prefer, or have been asked, to keep their participation low-pro.

Indeed, her favorite designers have remained pretty mum on the subject. When we asked Thakoon at the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund dinner last month if he'd submitted sketches, he said only, "Um … we'll see what happens." Maria Pinto doesn't usually design one-of-a-kind pieces for Michelle for special occasions but told WWD in August that the Inaugural Ball is an exception. “She [Michelle] referred to it, saying, ‘Make sure Maria gets that dress designed,’ but we’re not going to talk about it yet,” Pinto said. “We don’t want to jinx anything.” Rodriguez was vague like Thakoon. When asked if he was designing one, he told the New York Observer, "It would be nice to think so." Wu, on the other hand, dismissed Michelle's choosing one of his designs for the big night as a "long shot" in The Wall Street Journal.

Thus far evidence suggests Michelle will deflect to a favorite designer for the big ball. Though we do think Kors's design would be a great choice (think about it — he's American, it's a good cut for her, it's not too opulent, and the color is smashing), she prefers local and young designers to big, established labels. While we love Rodriguez's work, after the criticism of her Election Night dress, we'd be surprised if she chose him again. Then again who knows what will happen? She might shock the world and wear something by a brand like J.Crew. They told us they were eager to dress her for the occasion. And considering yesterday's kerfuffle over the $30,000 ring that Barack supposedly bought her as a gift, such a demure choice might not be so unlikely.

Michelle Obama: What Should She Wear? [WWD]

Read more posts by Amy Odell

Filed Under: betsey johnson, carolina herrera, christian lacroix, diane von furstenberg, inaugural ball, j crew, jason wu, marc jacobs, maria pinto, michael kors, michelle obama, narciso rodriguez, thakoon, the dress, zac posen

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