Michelle Obama Loves Young Designers of Color

The First Lady is catapulting a new generation of American talent to the world stage.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 26, 2011

First Lady Michelle Obama wore a conservative silk shift three-quarter sleeve dress with a wide rounded neck to Tuesday’s State of the Union address. The simple light-colored dress stood out in the sea of dark-colored suits that surrounded her.

The dress was made by Rachel Roy, a New York-based clothing designer with a fairly young fashion career. Her mother is Dutch and her father is Indian.

Mrs. Obama also stands out as the only First Lady who’s been pretty consistent with her support of American designers of color.

Narciso Rodriquez
Isabel Toledo
Jason Wu

She entered the world stage on Election night in a Narciso Rodriquez dress, another New York fashion designer with Cuban roots. The lemon wool lace suit-ensemble she wore to the inauguration was designed by Isabel Toledo, also Cuban-American. And she celebrated that night by wearing a white gown by a then 26-year-old designer Jason Wu.

She’s even worn MDLR, a new label led by Moises de la Renta, Oscar de la Renta’s son. Oscar has dressed every first lady in the last three decades — except for Mrs. Obama.

By wearing clothes by up-and-coming designers such as Rodriguez, Toledo, Roy, Thakoon Panichgul, Maria Pinto, Maria Cornejo, Mrs. Obama is catapoulting a new generation of talent that will undoubtedly define today’s American fashion.

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  Mrs. Obama in MDLR. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza.)