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Mrs. O Wears de la Renta


Official White House photo by Pete Souza

... but it may not be the de la Renta who first comes to mind.

A few weeks ago we posted about this red mystery dress - a crowd pleaser that the first lady has worn at least twice in recent months, but also one for which the designer has proven difficult to identify.

We've learned that the dress is MDLR, a new, young label led by Moises de la Renta, Oscar de la Renta's son. The dress is a one-of-a-kind piece made especially for Mrs. Obama and constructed from Gandini sponge crepe.

We can rest a bit easier knowing who is behind this fabulous frock - and what a fantastic twist in the story of Mrs. O's fashion.

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    Mrs. O Wears de la Renta - Home - Mrs.O - Follow the Fashion and Style of First Lady Michelle Obama
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Reader Comments (34)

Oh, Michelle our little devilish belle! Wasn't daddy Oscar talking about Mrs. O needing help and not dressing appropriately to meet with the Queen?

Well, looks like the oil went to the less than squeaky de la Renta. Congrats to his son for snagging Michelle and creating such a homerun piece.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 1:52 PM | Registered CommenterIVA

New York Magazine on the de la Renta dynasty (warning: this is a long article):


Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

Among other things I think de la Renta did not like the fact that Michelle preferred new designers? Was that correct? I guess that would not apply to his son?

Wonderful dress!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterThat other Mimi

I wonder if Mr. de la Renta Sr. realized before he put his foot in his mouth that his son was commissioned to create a dress for Mrs. Obama. Hopefully now Mr. de la Renta Sr. will finally realized what Mrs. Obama's ultimate goals are...which is to highlight new talent. I remember reading an article a while ago when Oscar de la Renta mentioned that he tried to talk his son from starting on his own so soon. I guess Moises de la Renta has the last laugh. I think that it is wonderful that Mrs. Obama chose Moises de la Renta. Now maybe this will somewhat quiet those critics who thought Mrs. Obama was not wearing clothes by designers of African descent!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterkennedynphilly

Calling Michelle Obama a little devilish belle is so far off base, one has to laugh. Look at the short distance between bust and belt? You think the wrinkles created at the neckline indicate a good fit??

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Registered CommenterPeggy

My, my. Never have I seen the bird flipped so elegantly. Well played, Michelle - well played.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterJen

Ha! He complains that Michelle doesn't wear the right designers because she wears up and coming designers instead of his clothes and other 7th avenue giants, then she goes and wears clothing from an up and coming designer he officially can't hate on.... his son. Too funny. I wonder if she and Ikram did that on purpose?

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:44 PM | Registered CommenterAri

Peggy, get a life.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Registered Commentermarabout40


Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered Commentercanyongal

My guess is that Mrs. O is not that petty, but *I* am chuckling to myself about the Sr. de la Renta vs. the Jr. And she really seems to emphasize American based designers, which is good. Not exclusively, but the majority are based in this country. I think that's a good message to send, too.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMeredith P

No matter who designed it, IMHO the dress is a winner. The wrinkles at the neck are caused by the fact that Mrs. O had her hands together on front of her hips, hence her shoulders bent forward, when the picture was taken.

BTW, I happen to have agreed with those who thought the cardigan was too informal for the Queen. But then when the news reported how much the Queen liked Mrs. O and how positively she reacted to her personal warmth, I thought the cardigan was not only irrelevant but may have set just the right tone.

I had a different reaction to the cardigan/bolero at the Kennedy funeral. I didn't think it inappropriate per se. But I did it made the famous black bow blouse spill out in a confused bunching of fabric at the back, from what I could see. Too many pieces (bolero, blouse, skirt) that just didn't work together.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered Commenterkbarch

to Peggy -- oh please, i've seen that dress at a thousand other angels where those wrinkles hardly exist, the dress was a wonderful fit, one of Mrs O's best looks. She's just slightly hunched w/ her arms crossed across her front; that's probably why the slight ruching appears at the neckline.

The lead photo on the original post says it all: the look was DIVINE


Pls, put the Haterade down. You are embarassing yourself!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterpbw

I don't see anything wrong with the fit in the bodice. She is standing in a relaxed pose, shoulders a bit forward, hands clasped, resting for a moment. That kind of fabric is not crisp. It will fall into relaxed-looking places when its wearer is not standing absolutely erect.

This was one of my favorite dresses. Not exciting so much as it was simply chic. And the matching (as to color) belt was at her waistline.

Moises studied at the knee of the master. And I believe that his mother was Francoise, one of the most elegant women who ever lived.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee


A profile on Moises de la Renta from the New York Observer. The first paragraph about how Oscar came to adopt him is surprising. He seems like a funny, sweet guy too.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:29 PM | Registered CommenterAri

I think this should be seen as an olive branch. But it gets frustrating seeing all the barbs thrown at a woman who is trying to do her best for this country. It makes me sick how many want to see the country fail.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterThat other Mimi

From the profile Ari posted above:

He spends his days toiling as an assistant designer at his father’s company. He’s developing his own ready-to-wear line, which will bear his initials: MDLR.

“I’m shooting to have it ready sometime next season,” he said. “It’s going to be 12, 15 looks at most.” His father, a self-made man, is not the kind of guy to “throw me a million dollars and say, ‘Do what you want.’”

My assumption about his having been Francoise's son as well was mistaken. This article clears that up. Interesting story.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

I love Michelle in this dress and was convinced it was Kors. Good Job on finding out the true designer. Atleast now I KNOW it will never hang in my closet. Back to looking at the knock offs. LOL

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRebekkahsmom

Well, I am having to back away from another previous remark about Moises. He didn't exactly study at his father's knee, though he worked with him and had to have soaked up something. But he wants to be a photographer.

He sounds as though he has been a handful and a trial for the de la Rentas, who have given him a lot. Wishing them all the best.

In the meantime, that is a great basic dress.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

Four of my favorite people in the white house and one of my favorite people in general will be in Denmark to bid for the Olympics to come to Chicago. Mrs.O, the President, senior adviser Valerie Jarett, social secretary Desiree Rogers and the big O, Oprah, will all be there this week. I also heard Maria Pinto will be designing the "Olympic" outfits Valerie and Mrs.O will wear during their trip. The President and Mrs.O will also be meeting the Queen of Denmark and her husband on Friday. I can't wait to see those photos.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 5:24 PM | Registered CommenterAri

Love the dress -- very wearable -- but the belt doesn't do much for me.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Peggy, Please stop wasting your time and ours by coming on here typing these useless comments. I am trying to overlook posters like you, but I went all the way back to the red suit and came back to this recent one and you posted a useless comment on each one. Really, go visit the sites that are for Michelle Obama Haters because this is not one of them.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 6:44 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

I've said it before and I'll say it again, every woman should have a pretty red dress!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 8:58 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

Touche' ! Mrs. O is fierce for this move! It's like saying checkmate to the senior De La Renta, a true design legend in his own right. I only hope that this didn't cause any riffs between father and son....ha!

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:15 PM | Registered CommenterStrong Foru

Mrs Obama like her husband the president, always takes the high road. For all those who would like to draw her into some petty back and forth, she quickly nips the nonsense in the bud. This woman will not be manipulated, dictated to or drawn into pointless, useless chatter with quibblers (and there are a lot of them out there and here on this blog.)

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 9:21 PM | Registered CommenterEleroy

Hi everyone, first time posting.

Mrs. O looks fab on the new cover of "Prevention"!


Monday, September 28, 2009 at 10:20 PM | Registered CommenterCrane

Ah HA! Great sleuthing, Mrs. T!

Last week I looked thru the Oscar de la Renta slideshow on Style.com (from the recent NY Fashion week shows). The line is gorgeous, and I thought more than once "MO should see this - it would be great on her." Beautiful colors and silhouettes - wearable, elegant, and begging for a little MO "tweak" here and there.

If this is any indication of MDLR, I'd love to see more - but I also hope she will consider the "older generation" as well.

Monday, September 28, 2009 at 10:42 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

@Allyson, she does look really wonderful on that cover!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 2:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterGillian

Funny! I'd never heard of him before this thread. Good for him. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of long and illustrious career like his father's.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 2:14 AM | Registered Commenterlittlered

That Prevention Magazine cover is hot indeed. I believe she's wearing Jason Wu and those "Latern" silver Jimmy Choos I love on her so much. Cute. I'm loving that she's a first lady that isn't afraid to showcase her femininity and not worried about not being taken seriously for it. You can just tell by her stance on that cover she's confident and knows she has nothing to prove to anyone. Just comfortable being herself. I want to be like that when I am her age. Heck, I want to be more like that now!

I also love Oscar de la Renta's designs. He was one of the first designers I recognized as a true artist when I was younger. The beautiful thing about his designs is that he can create things that I (in my early twenties), my mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother would love to and could always wear. His clothing always exudes class and grace.

However, his comments about Mrs.Obama a few months ago were anything but. He criticized her, but I think he made it a little too personal by being condescending. For example when he said "You don't wear a sweater to Buckingham Palace", or when he mentioned that she should look at Desiree Rogers' style and consult with her on her outfit choices. It kind of reminds me of the comments a lot of people make about her that subtly suggest she really does not deserve to be where she is. I thought he was above that kind of cattiness, but apparently not.

As much as his designs would indeed look lovely on her, I hope she doesn't wear his clothing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 7:28 AM | Registered CommenterAri

Thank you thank you for solving the mystery!
Gorgeous dress on a gorgeous lady!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTokyo Girl

Nice one Nyon.

Good to know where this dress came from at LAST! Guess Daddy de la Renta is now at war with MDLR for being a new talent supported by MrsO. Honestly. What a dipstick.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 8:00 AM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

I do not favor large print outfits and I am so happy FLOTUS changed to the electric blue Jason Wu dress which is smashing and a gold medal winner.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 5:41 AM | Unregistered Commentercapitolhiller

She looked really good in that red dress. I love Michelle Obama but sometimes her clothing choices are not the best. That black bow she wore in Europe and later to the Kennedy funeral was awful. I didnt think the dress she wore to greet the summit leaders in Pittsburgh was appropriate nor did she look that good in it and her hairs was sticking out in the back. And while I think Oscar de la Renta was totally rude in comments, I too thought that something else should have been worn to see the Queen. That being said, everything she has done since being in the White House has been perfect. Visiting the schools, the parties, the poetry jam, opening the White House up, the kids, the dog, all perfect.

Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered Commentershyril

I really like the cut of this dress on her; get one in every color. As for the top"wrinkels"...she is in a relaxed stance with her shoulder rolled forward

Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 10:58 AM | Registered CommenterHamiltonIV

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