Mrs-O.com is a blog dedicated to chronicling the fashion and style of First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded September 2008. 


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The WWD Sketches

Peter Som for Mrs. O; Courtesy photo via Women's Wear Daily

Fashion bible WWD rang their directory of designer friends with a dream assignment: Design an ensemble for Mrs. O to wear on Inauguration Day (Ball appropriate or otherwise). Judging by the vast number of responses, inspiration clearly runneth over. But interestingly, WWD reports that many of Mrs. O's current favorites and a few "majors" declined to submit sketches. Before we decode that tidbit, enjoy the gorgeous sketches submitted by the truly impressive cast of designers below.

Isaac Mizrahi Monique Lhuillier Carolina Herrera Badgley Mischka Betsey Johnson Chado Ralph Rucci Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Diane von Furstenberg Koi Suwannagate Marc Jacobs Christian Lacroix Michael Kors Oscar de la Renta Zac Posen Tracy Reese Rodarte Rachel Roy Peter Som Elie Tahari Tuleh Kai Milla Nicole Miller Reem Acra Zero + Maria Cornejo Click here for the WWD article and slide show. And afterwards, we'd love to hear which designs get your vote.

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Reader Comments (30)

1. Monique Lhuillier
2. Oscar de la Renta
3. Koi Suwannagate
4. Isaac Mizrahi

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

Koi (9) is lovely, feminine, perhaps not a strong enough statement?
Marc Jacobs (10) looks modern, fresh and very Mrs.O
Lacroix (11) at first I was put off by the patriotic red/blue theme (cliche) but the blue dress is very strong and sexy and the red cape is a nice touch for the chilly DC winter and for our super heroine Michelle. Black details tie everything together in an elegant way, tho I don't like the bow in the back of the dress.
Lacroix (12) this is a very different/unuaual dress and since we know Michelle likes purple and to push the envelope, she might go for something like this.
Kors (14) a little to awards show looking, not regal enough for the occassion
Oscar de la Renta (15) Pretty while still being of the moment with the black and white combo that is so hot for spring. Love the sketch of Michelle and the girls! tho I do not care for the dresses he did for them, while age appropriate, a bit boring, and the red/white/blue theme CLICHE not in a good way.
zac posen (16) Mysterious!
posen (17) umm, no
Rodarte (19) draping is nice if ho hum, but I LOVE the dresses for malia and sasha, funky, fun and age appropriate
rachel roy (20) looks uber minimal but silhouette is so goreous, it makes a big statement in a quiet way
Peter Som (21) Love the winter white, dress is reminiscent of Jacqueline Kennedy, but I don't think it suits Mrs. O's personality
Elie Tahari (21) Interesting
Tuleh (22) sexy, but not so inaugural seeming?
Kai Millah (24) wow! what a statement, very inaugural (I can't see the neckline/bust) not risk taking or fashion forward, but I could see Mrs. O rocking this look
Nicole Miller gown(25) No. and no bows. please.
Nicloe Miller dress (26) Nice for the parade.
Reem Arca (27, 28) or Sasha and Malia - No.
Reem Arca (29, 30) I don't see it.
Chado Ralph Rucci (31) Yes. Parade. Love it. Fashion forward, fun, a bit edgy.
Diane Von Furstenberg (33) suit for parade or other day function. very feminine, it color yellow with funnel collar detail to keep this suit fresh along with 3/4 sleeve, Michelle would look great and feel great in this.
Lacroix (35) Coat with fur trim - even if it is faux, not mrs. o's style to have this elite statement (fur) on a day like this.
Lacroix (36) no bows.
zac Posen (37) Love the detail on the front, if the back has a bustle I would like it less. Do these designers realize that black women have wonderful, full hips and no woman wants to add bulk to this area regardless of their hip size.
Peter Som dress (40) very mod, I could see it.
Zero + Maria Cornejo (42) Now. This. Is. A. Coat. And fit for the all-the-world-is-watching-ness of the event.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterYvette

Chado Ralph Rucci (6) oops, can't forget this one. This is a statement dress. Simple lines, outragerous silhouette and the patters is fresh. Very Mrs.O.
Karl Lagerfeld (for Chanel) (7) wrong decade. wrong first lady.
ps: Have I been watching too many years of Project Runway or what?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterYvette

I already commented on another post about this, but Im so into the sketches I'll comment again

Marc Jacobs had it hands down for me. I thought it was the modern day Jackie O specially made for Mrs O.

Although Im loving the Jackie O connection with Mrs O, I hope we don't tight-cast Mrs O too much into the Jackie O category where we expect her to shadow the Jackie O look, because MIchelle Obama has her own style, equally as fabulous as Mrs O, in my opinion, but distinct in their own ways

I love the comparison in that I think Jackie was a great style icon her time, and Mrs. O is shaping up to be a great style icon of our time, and IM LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! both women rock!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterLayo G

Everything by LaCroix is FAB-U-LOUS!
The Badgley Mischka gown is perfection! So is the Carolina Herrera!
I also like the Monique Lluillier, but the more I looked at the design, the more it reminds me of Nancy Reagan's Inauguration gown.
I like the dresses Oscar suggested for the girls.
Even though the sketches look crazy, I like the CHADO Ralph Rucci day look. His designs are ALWAYS incredible!
I like the DVF day look, but perhaps in another color.
I also like the white Peter Som outfit.
And the Zero + Maria Cornejo red ensemble is gorgeous! The coat is TDF!

I don't know how she'll ever pick!

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 12:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterErica B.

I am going for the M Jacobs, the Lagerfeld, the Rodarte and Rucci - how fab that so many great designers contributed - Mrs O is causing major excitement.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 1:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterRJT

The Monique Lhuillier (sp?) is stunning, but the Carolina Herrera (#3 in green) is a gorgeous cut, and I love Badgely Mischka's (#4) to show off Michelle's curves. The Lacroix with the red cape is be-autiful, too. I think she'll look absolutely fabulous in whatever she chooses. There was also a cute little suit (yellow and white, sort of 60's looking with a really cool collar) that would look wonderful for inauguration day, though she may need to throw a coat on over it for the Washington weather.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 6:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterEvie

Some thoughts:

1. I love all Michelle and Malia's designs from Mizrahi. Sasha - I could go to Sears or JCPenney and find a ' Sunday Best' dress that looks better.

2. Monique Lhuiller - KILLER. Love the red. I'm not crazy about the ruffles, but ruffles don't scare Michelle Obama. She has the shoulders to kill in this.

3. Carolina Herrera - looked like a dress to the Oscars, not the Inauguration. BUT, I bet that Ms. Herrera could design a killer suit for Mrs. O.

4. Badgley Micshka - Come on. This for the First Lady, not Beyonce.

5. Betsey Johnson - um, no.

6. Rucci - um, he needed to at least add color.

7. Lagerfeld- no for the dress. YES for the suit. Love the Winter White.

8. Diane Von Furstenberg - I like it. The shoulders would have to be toned down, but Michelle has the body for it.

9. Suwannagate - too fussy. and what's up with the black top - yuck.

10. Marc Jacobs - no. not enough WOW.

11. Christian LaCroix- ditch the cape, and I'm in love., I do love the American flag purse - cracked me up.

12. LaCroix ruffled neck - don't like it.

13. LaCroix bow in the back - too fussy

14. Kors was so clean. So simple. I like the dress, but don't love it.

15. DeLa Renta - what's up with folks having such a hard time with Sasha's dress? She's seven. Have none of them ever seen little Black girls dress up in ' Sunday Best'? Loved Michelle and Malia's dresses . No to Sasha's.

16. Zac Posen - just say no.

17. Zac Posen off the shoulders - getting better, but still no.

18. Tracy Reese - I like it, but don't love it. Love the color though - killer.

19. Rodarte - three no's, but huge no's too the WeeMichelle dresses.

20. Rachel Roy - too simple.

21. Peter Som- I love it for some reason. I don't really grasp why, but I can see Michelle in it, and me going ' sigh' looking at it on tv.

22. Tahari - don't like it.

23. Tuleh - Michelle would rock it - the color, and the flow that I think I see in it.

24. Kai Milla - I'm not into the jeweled top look.

25. Nicole Miller - hate the bow.

26. Nicole Miller - I like the dress, but think Mrs. O should be in a suit for the actual inauguration.

27. Reem Acra - they're killing me with the Sasha dresses. Killing me! Just say no.

28. Reem Acra - just say no.
I'm not kidding when I say any middle class Black mother could go into JC Penney or Sears, let alone Bloomingdale's or Saks, and find better selections for Malia and Sasha than we've seen from these designers.

29. Reem Acra for Michelle Obama - I like. Accentuates all the positives of Mrs. O

30. Reem Acra - like the White, but 29 is better, IMO

31. Badgley Mischka - um, no. not formal enough for the actual Inauguration

32. Rucci - no.

33. The Diane Von Furstenberg Suit - I'm in love. The design. The color. OMG, Mrs. O would rock it.

34. Carolina Herrera - classic, but not rocking.

35. LaCroix - give the man credit. He knows FLARE. Damn, this is FLARE.

36. LaCroix - too much flare, and pouffy.

37. Zac Posen - still saying no

38. Tracy Reese - me like this for the Inauguration.

39. Rachel Roy - no

40. Peter Som - I love it. and hope to see it on Michelle Obama one day. But, not at the Inauguration.

41. Tuleh - same as 40.

42. Marc Cornejo - blech.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterrikyrah

WOW. The Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrera are stunning, but probably too much for Mrs. O.

Marc Jacbos, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, and Tracy Reese all seemed gorgeous and appropriate to me, so those are my votes.


Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterKristan

Few of them took into account a couple of things. Mrs. O, though lovely, is shaped like a linebacker, with big shoulders, square trunk and long full legs. She's tall, which is great for wearing clothes, but she also hunches over, which is the worst thing you can do. Not that it matters, she seems great and everything, she doesn't have to be a fashion plate. But on a purely fashion level, this isn't so good.

The designer who knocked it out on that level was DVF. The day outfit is a little overly Jackio O, but the inaugural and the day both take into account those big shoulders. I'm just not sure that strapless is a good idea with hunchy big shoulders. Also, Mrs. VF knows that Mrs. O has fairly dark skin, and thus looks GREAT in white. I wish I could wear white like that. I cannot. Mrs. O seems to favor reds and yellows, which are also strong on dark skin, but no one wears white like a true dark brown lady.

Also of issue for the inaugeral dresses is that many of them are too tight to dance in. I love Herrera's green, but imagine trying to even walk, let alone glide in it. And it would look silly with Mrs. O hunchy walk. And what's with all the fish-bottom gowns? These dresses only look good if you are built like a french actress, all slender and spare. Sadly, Lagerfeld went boring as did many designers (probably reasonably, since politician wives are not to stand out. ... but this is going on a lady who wears Thakoon regularly. The lady is not afraid of clothes. I can't imagine her going the Betsey Johnson route (which, you have to love Betsey!), but e.g., Marc Jacobs has a sweet, partly conservative but with a little fun gown. And in one of Mrs. O's trademark colors. And somethign that would give her a knock-out figure, really a perfect silouette for her. The Marc would be a very realistic and good choice.

The other designer who really ran with it was Christian Lacroix. Yes, it's all tight and constricting. But she would look totally hot in it. I love the cape, it'sa little Cruella Doodle Dandy. And the plum dress is a little bit more doable, again, in a totally lovely sillouette.

I'm sure she'll end up going a little bit more tradition, a la Michael Kors or Issac Mizrahi or Oscar de la Renta. The Oscar gown would be again in AWESOME WHITE, and look very stylish if a bit conservative. A great choice for her. The Rodarte is a nice idea, and would actually look great on her I think, but for her hunchy walk. People think Rodarte is only for the ethereally thin, but I think it really just requires the right skin tone and the right walk. And shockingly, I really like the Tahari dress, which would tone down her shoulders quite nicely.

Of the day outfits, the Badgley Mischka outfit totally wins. She'd look sharp and modern without being scary. That, paired with the Christian Lacroix navy coat? Hot.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterMariah

Oh my God, I think Karl Lagerfeld knocked it with the black and red combo.for an evening ball that would be great. i also think his white one was, though traditional, is perfecto for the swearing in ceremony where it would be wise for her to take the attention off herself and allow the christian radicals to hear her husband swear the sacred oath. lol

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterprissy orn

These are my top seven(they all complement Mrs. O's best assets):
1.Marc Jacobs-Perfect!
2.Red Lhuillier- Smashing!
3.Blue Michael Kors-Also Lovely
4.Lime Carolina Herrera
5.White De la Renta
6. Tuleh in Peach/Aprricot/Rose?
7. Red Reem Acra

Not crazy about any others...Sash and Malia's dresses are all very disappointing.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterMizz Bella

1. the Marc Jacobs-minus the yellow color. Yellow washes Mrs O-didn't anybody notice that w/J. Crew on Leno?? Would be great with one of her bold colors for the overlay-purple, lavender,powder blue- in that family. This would compliment Mrs. O's figure perfectly IMO.
2. Kors I like that color would fit her.
3. La Renta-perfect minus the ruffles on Malia
4. love love the Tracy Reese! that is Mrs. O's color w/out a doubt!
5. The LaCroix ensemble are starting to grow on me-yikes!!! Maybe cause they fit Mrs O's persona

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterdaveinsoko

LaCroix really outdid himself. I loved all of them, but my personal fav is the blue fur! Stunning!

My favorite gowns are the white DVF dress and the blue LaCrois with the red cape--without the bow in the back.

The DVF white and yellow suit needs to be in production right now.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterroselin

In no particular order:
Issac Mizrahi - gown
Monique Lhullier
Carolina Herrera - gown and day dress/suit
Badgley Mischka - gown
Chado Ralph Rucci - gown
Chanel - gown
Diane Von Furstenberg - gown/suit
Christian LaCroix - #1 gown without the cape/#2 day dress/suit (although I like #1 better, I think the masses will eat her alive for wearing fur)
Michael Kors
Elie Tahari
Tuleh - gown
Reem Acra - for Michelle #1/#2
Zac Posen - day dress/suit
Rachel Roy - dress
Peter Som- dress
Zero+Maria Cornejo - dress/suit

While I think it's great that European designers submitted sketches, ultimately Mrs. Obama will probably choose an American designer, and hopefully a young forward thinking one.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJared DeWese

#9I liked the Koi Suwanngate, but not sure why he added the black cardigan?
#10Marc Jacobs seemed the only designer that successfully considered Michelle's pear shape for the design. The colors need to be tweaked a bit.
#13 LaCroix could be interesting, but she wouldn't pick such an unabashedly Euro designer.
#15 Oscar de la Renta is lovely, if a bit conventional. It would fit her figure well.
#24 Kai Milla I like this sketch.
#32 & #6 Chado Ralph Rucci is one of America's best old-school couture designers. The sketches are hard to decipher, but would be incredible dresses. If I were in Michelle's shoes, I'd pick him.
#30 Reem Acra's neckline would be beautiful on Michelle, but one must have incredible posture to pull of this dress.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 5:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterJen

I can't even begin to pick a favorite. Fabulous designs. I like Mrs. O in color and not too much fuss, her height already commands attention.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerri

Isn't it amazing great designers like Karl and Christian spend time making sketches for Michelle. I think she will wear an American designer. She might wear European designers if she's visiting overseas. I like Monique's dress (2).She will also look good in de la Renta's dress (15) and Diane von Furstenburg's suit (33)

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered Commentermenukj

A majority of those (from my viewpoint) where straight up fugly! That Lhuillier dress had me at HELLO! Gorgeous. I would LOVE to see Mrs. O in something this hot. Two others that I thought were very elegant were the ones by Mischka and Cors. Both of these were also lovely.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 at 8:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterakonuche

A really interesting dicussion about these sketches is going on at Slate's XX Factor blog. I think many of the designs are lovely, but the drawings... Anyway, it was discussed better here: http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/xxfactor/archive/2008/12/03/how-hard-is-it-to-draw-michelle-obama.aspx#

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

So many nice sketches to choose from. Overall I think Peter Som's gown captures the maturity, class, grace, elegance and sophistication of a first lady...not to mention this gown would also enhance Mrs O's best features such as her arms and waist.

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterJade

So much to decide BEFORE looking at the list. Answer these questions please:

1. Does she owe loyalty to her local Chicago designers?
2. Budding designers vs. haute couture?
3. American vs. not?
4. Traditional vs. Statement vs. "WOW! I can't believe she pulled that off!"

I doubt we are seeing the designer she will chose.

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRickyDee

Of them all, the Peter Som design, which I added to the post after much deliberation, is my favorite. I like that white would be unexpected - especially when we are almost counting on a rich jewel tone. And I like the clean, classic lines of the Peter Som gown. It lacks fuss, which is a central theme in Mrs. O's personal style.

However, I do agree with RickyDee that it's doubtful we'll see any of these designs at the Inaugural Ball. I have to think there's a reason Mrs. O's lead designers declined to submit designs. With the exception of a few new collaborations (Jason Wu, for example), Mrs. O is incredibly loyal to her small circle of favorite designers. She knows a good thing when she finds it. And in the end, I expect we'll see one her usuals. Maria Pinto if I had to put money on it.

Still, these designs certainly add to the excitement and have been a delight to look at.

Friday, December 5, 2008 at 7:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

the designs are lovely however, she may wish/want to/choose to make a statement;luxury when people are living on food stamps?it will be interesting because on one hand, there are the circumstances(inauguration) and the other mentioned above.

Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterisabelle

A VERY close tie between Marc Jacobs and Carolina Herrera.

Mrs. O has perfect shoulders that just scream to wear the Herrera dress, and the GREEN is just perfect to signify A FRESH START.

Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 5:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJennie

Most of us need our clothing to help accentuate the positive and eliminate, if possible, the negative. The gorgeous Michelle is no exception.

1. She has a short neck and broad shoulders. All the dresses with the high square necklines will not flatter Michelle. They flatten the chest, make her shoulders look broader and her neck disappears.
2. All the one-shoulder styles will show a very large shoulder and she will appear ungainly. Many women are pear-shaped, with narrow shoulders and these styles work for them, but Michelle has an athletic build, and different issues.
3. The strapless styles will flatten the chest, shorten the torso and make her shoulders appear very broad.
4. The little square sleeves also emphasize broad shoulders.
5. Oscar de la Renta, an Hispanic designer who was born in the Dominican Republic, helped create Jackie's iconic look.
6. Oscar actually paid attention to Michelle's face and figure in his sketch, and including the girls was considerate.
7. I do not like the girls' dresses, but at least they arent black.
8. Oscar puts her in a V-neck, a style she should wear ALL the time. Lengthen the neck, and no more pearl chokers. They looked right on Jackie O b/c she had a long thin neck, but not on Michelle. (Not on Bar either)
8. Oscar creates a slimming design down the center of his dress which also lengthens her short torso by gliding past the natural waist.
9. Michelle's rich skin tone will look spectacular in Oscar's White House white dress. Beautiful next to #44 in his black tux. Maybe the girls in bright purple, like blossoms. Do they have favorite colors?
10. Michelle needs to wear POINTY flats, not those stumpy round-toed ballet shoes. Pointy are more sophisticated, make the leg line and the foot look slimmer. Not to get too personal, but Jonathan Weitzman has pointy flats up to a size 12, including 1/2 sizes.
11. The big high round collar on the yellow suit....not on Michelle. She does not have a long neck, and she would look like a turtle.
12. Oscar. Bring back Camelot, if only for one night.

Monday, December 8, 2008 at 9:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterkathleen san juan

Chado Ralph Rucci, number 6 and 30, what a fashion statement. Charcoal silk tulle over charcoal satin would have a positively lustrous look. Look at the black dress about 13:30 in on his spring 2009 collection. http://odeo.com/episodes/23612182-Chado-Ralph-Rucci-NYFW-Spring-Summer-2009-Fashion-Network It has Mrs. O written all over it and is much the same line as this dress. Lovely workmanship and elegant. And to see all those folds, front and back, He was only one a few who should the back of the dress. And the dress with jacket, ash brown cashmere and black silk over white dress with boots in that 20 degree weather, fabulous.

If you do watch the video, the fushia silk dress is another Mrs. O look.

Monday, December 8, 2008 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterMary

I think the Peter Som designs totally win. Right mood, elegant, and the white would look incredible on her.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlex


Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 3:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterronah

The de la Renta dress seems perfect. It looks like her and is elegant with an element of surprise with the pattern. I agree wholeheartedly with Jennie that this look would be extremely flattering on her.

Monday, January 19, 2009 at 1:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrish

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