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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Hidden Gem: Gregory Parkinson

Images by Saul Loeb / Getty Images

Love a good reader tip! Reader "njmrso" reports that the skirt Mrs. O wears in the photo above, taken on January 3 as the Obamas traveled back from Hawaii, is the work of Gregory Parkinson. And indeed, it appears to be from the designer's Spring Summer 2011 collection, seen here

The choice is significant in that Gregory Parkinson was selected as a 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist. Just a few days before wearing the skirt above, the first lady also wore a skirt by Jolibe, a fashion house sponsored by the CFDA Fashion Incubator.

Steven Kolb, the CFDA's executive director, was recently quoted in WWD, discussing what he considers to be the "pinnacle" for an American designer -- dressing the first lady -- and referenced this very occasion:

Kolb cited Joel Diaz of Jolibe, a participant in the CFDA’s Fashion Incubator program, whose work was scouted by Obama’s wardrobe adviser, Chicago boutique-owner Ikram Goldman. “Mrs. Obama wore his skirt. That, to him, was such encouragement,” Kolb said. “It’s validation in a lot of ways.”

It's exciting to see Mrs. O shine a spotlight on yet another CFDA darling. Parkinson was born in the north of England, but has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1989. His signature "hand-dyed, sliced and layered" fabrics offer a distinct aesthetic, combining "an English sense of eclectic colour and pattern with a Californian love of casual." His collections are carried at Barneys New York and Linda Dresner. 

Reader Comments (10)

I am surprised you posted this unflattering picture of Mrs. Obama again. The skirt and top, and the angle from which the picture is taken, makes her middle look large.... that skirt is for someone who has a small waist.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 7:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs.C

Mrs. T. thanks for posting this photo for reasons of letting us learn/know about this new designer Mrs. O has in her wardrobe. I do recall when you first posted the photo there was some question as to who the skirt was by. Regardless of if we like the skirt on her or not, it was good to hear of who the designer is.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdear

Oh I do like Parkinson's 2011 Spring/Summer collection. And I am enjoying the skirt the second time around. Mrs O did look lovely as she departed Hawaii from the first familiy's Christmas vacation! It is wonderful how Mrs O's style is leading us to such an ecclectic array of talented designers!

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 12:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterBoazwife

She's really giving some little known designers a great deal of exposure! I still like this skirt and that pattern is delightful. The first time I saw it I did not notice the sheer overlay. I just thought it was the fabric's pattern. Fancy, Fancy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 12:15 PM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit

I love that skirt! It is a nice change from the pencil skirts and the short, cropped ones we see in the retail stores. The colors and fabrics look great. Thanks for the info.

Sunday, February 6, 2011 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterChar

Has anyone seen ANY picture of this outfit at a more flattering angle? HuffPo's Getty Images triplet, at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/04/michelle-obama-hawaii_n_804014.html shows a full-length side view, and a very pretty waist-up of the "white t-shirt", but I cannot, myself, find any frontal or 3/4 shots that might explain this choice. the side view is just terrible, makes her look like a no-waist toddler! which we all know perfectly well she is NOT!

another half hour and all I can come up with is this top-of-the-flight-stairs shot, where MO is standing up straight and looks MUCH better, although you only see a fraction of the skirt, http://blackwaterdog.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/last-day-of-summer/ (what you're looking for is the very last photo, before the comments start)

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterchimene

While trawling through Parkinson's website I found absolutely NO mention of *where* in the North of England he was born (secretive, much) although a mention of going to Newcastle for further education. Eep. He seems to have escaped Newcastle very successfully though. Ghastly place.... Lots of Parkinson's in Yorkshire though...

Also I was very amused by a photo in the press section showing Irene Neuwirth wearing one of his maxi dresses with a reeeally wide leather belt worn above her natural waist and a little loose cardigan.

Just sayin'....!

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 4:07 PM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

you did great

Monday, February 7, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered Commentermuddy

Though Parkinson is a veteran of the fashion business, he's having a real resurgence this year as a nominee for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. For Spring 2011, he continued doing what he does best, which, in his words, is "making summer a permanent state of mind."

As a one-man show, Parkinson does everything by hand, including sewing the mismatched ribbon trim and hand-dying his washed-silk dresses. He collects fabrics from all over the world and even if there aren't many yards to use, will hold on to a piece for trim. "What am I going to do, throw it away?," he told StyleList.


Monday, February 7, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

I love the whole emsemble and I would love to be able to afford the skirt. Mrs O looks splendid.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 4:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJestina (England)

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