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


Entries in Loree Rodkin (5)


Correction: Mrs. O in Michael Kors

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Time Inc.

A lesson in always confirming things yourself...

Yesterday we reported that Mrs. O's stunning black gown, worn for Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People Gala, was the work of Azzedine Alaia. The information was sourced from Red Carpet Fashion Awards, a fantastic and highly reliable site. We all make mistakes, and unfortunately, we've learned that this information is inaccurate.

In fact, First Lady Mrs. O wears a Michael Kors square neck tank gown, made from stretch double face wool crepe. (Kudos to desertwind and Janelle who had their money on Kors from the start!) As previously reported, the corset belt is Peter Soronen.


Simply Stunning

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Time Inc.

We are beside ourselves, our First Lady is so beautiful. Really, there are no words.

Mrs. O is in New York City this evening, to address Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People" gala.

Update: Red Carpet Fashion Awards reports that Mrs. O wore a simple black sleeveless Azzedine Alaia gown, with a Peter Soronen corset, accessorized with multiple strands of necklaces by Loree Rodkin, and simple diamond stud earrings.

Correction: Mrs. O wears a Michael Kors square neck gown in stretch, double face wool crepe. Photo by The White House

A fantastic slideshow from Talking Points Memo follows here.


Thank you Rick for that kind introduction and thank you for including me in tonight's festivities. It is a pleasure to join you all. There are few times in history when the saying 'we are all in this together' would be more applicable than now. Events like this one show how truly connected our world is; how one person's invention can create an entirely new economy; how one person can change how we see the world. The ability of one person to influence the outcome of someone else's life inspires me.

When I made the decision to leave my job to found Public Allies Chicago, an AmeriCorps program that prepares youth for public service, I realized right away that I had made the right decision.There are few things more rewarding than watching young people recognize that they have the power to enrich not only their lives, but the lives of others as well. But careers in public service are not always encouraged. We push our young people to strive for things, an advanced degree, a job title, a big salary. Rarely do we urge them to stop and think about what their passion is, what kind of life they want to live, what kind of neighbors and colleagues and parents they want to be. 

In doing so, we, as a society, often miss out on their creativity, their inventiveness, their resourcefulness- and some really good ideas! We also miss out on the opportunity to inspire a new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who will direct their energy and talent toward solving their community's - and our nation's - most serious social problems. Careers focused on lifting up our communities - whether helping transform troubled schools or training workers for green jobs or helping low-income families access health care - are not always obvious. But, at a time when our nation is facing unprecedented challenges, encouraging careers in public service and social innovation is more important than ever. Already, we are seeing young people leading the way with their entrepreneurial spirit, energy and commitment to serving their communities.

For example, Charles Best, a former Bronx public school teacher, started an online philanthropic marketplace called Donors Choose to help teachers who were spending up to $500 a year out of their own pockets for basic classroom materials. Through Donors Choose, ordinary citizens can directly fund projects initiated by enterprising public school teachers. Online donations have helped students in San Jose become avid readers through the Dr. Seuss series. An art class in the Bronx had no paint brushes. Now every student has a set.

Rebecca Onie is a social entrepreneur who founded "Project Health" to help break the link between poverty and poor health. I remember meeting Rebecca when I was at the University of Chicago and I was very impressed with her. Rebecca organizes college students to staff Help Desks in urban medical centers, universities and community centers. Students then connect low-income families to other critical community and government resources - such as housing vouchers, supplemental nutrition assistance, and educational support. This year, 600 college volunteers will dedicate 100,000 hours to connect over 15,000 low-income children and adults to the resources they need to be healthy."

And then there is John Alford who grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn, attended college in North Carolina and then Harvard Business School. John recently launched NOLA 180 a 'turn-around' organization for failing public schools in New Orleans. NOLA 180 transforms these public schools into high-functioning charter schools that prepare every student for college. Langston Hughes Academy is the first school to benefit. Students spend 50 percent more time in their classrooms. Parents are given teacher's cell phone numbers so they can call for help with homework. And, in honor of their namesake, Langston Hughes, students receive instruction in persuasive writing, public speaking, debate and poetry. In its first year, Langston Hughes students outperformed the city's public school average in reading, writing and math.

Charles, Rebecca and John. I know they are here somewhere. Congratulations and thanks for all of your hard work. This is exactly the kind of social innovation and entrepreneurship we should be encouraging all across this country.

And that is why tonight, I am pleased to announce that as part of the new Serve America Act, the Administration is creating a Social Innovation Fund to help innovative nonprofit groups and social entrepreneurs, like the ones I just mentioned, expand their successful approaches to tackling our most pressing national challenges. The idea is simple: find the most effective programs out there and then provide the capital needed to replicate their success in communities around the country. By focusing on high-impact, results-oriented non-profits, we will ensure that government dollars are spent in a way that is effective, accountable and worthy of the public trust.

In this room of Leaders and Revolutionaries, Builders and Titans, Artists and Entertainers, Scientists and Thinkers, Heroes and Pioneers, I think we can all agree, we did not get to where we are alone. Our success was made possible with the encouragement of a diligent parent or teacher, a grandparent who told us we had real talent, an older sibling who paved the way and set a good example, a scholarship or grant that created an unexpected opportunity, or a neighbor or community leader who told us to dream big. That's certainly been the case in my own life.

I stand here today because of people who loved me, and pushed me and believed in me. I stand here today because of scholarships and grants and experiences that gave me opportunities I was afraid to dream of. I never imagined that, as a result of all that support, I would be in a position to be a role model for girls around the globe. Girls who look at me and see something more for themselves, more than society expects of them. Girls who now think anything is possible. As global leaders, let's not underestimate the power each of us has to change the world for someone - and let us not be afraid to try.


The Inaugural Jewels

_MG_0727 Image via Flickr user dbking / Creative Commons From her beaming smile, to her crystal embellished Jason Wu gown, to her diamond jewelry, Mrs. O sparkled through and through at the Inaugural Ball. But despite a lifetime's worth of photography and video from the evening, the details of Mrs. O's inaugural jewelry have eluded us. We could never quite get a clear view of Mrs. O's diamond earrings, bracelets and cocktail ring. Thanks to the gracious people at Loree Rodkin, we can now take in every last stone. We first saw Mrs. O wear Loree Rodkin earrings on Election Night in November. Subsequently, Mrs. O turned to the designer for most of the jewelry she wore throughout the inauguration, including pieces she wore at the Lincoln Memorial Celebration, the Kids Inaugural Concert and finally the Inaugural Ball. In an interview with Firstwater News, Ms. Rodkin revealed the design instruction for the Inaugural Ball jewelry had been "pieces be all white with no color". She continued, "I wanted sparkle but no too glitzy. I wanted the jewelry to pop but not overwhelm." With that direction, Ms. Rodkin designed an exclusive, one-of-a-kind suite of jewelry for Mrs. O to wear for the Inaugural Ball, including the 61-carat white gold and triple rose cut diamond "Inaugural Earrings", 13-carat "Michelle Signet ring" crafted from white gold and black rhodium, and a set of white-gold bangles featuring 13 carats of diamonds. As Ms. Rodkin told Heard on the Runway, the jewelry was loaned to Mrs. O by the designer, arranged through Ikram Goldman, owner of Ikram in Chicago. Rodkin will donate the jewelry Mrs. O wore to the Inaugural Ball to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American history. Along with Mrs. O's inaugural fashions, they will join the museum's "First Ladies" collection. When Rodkin was asked about the cost of creating the jewelry, which the designer herself absorbed, she said, "What greater honor could I have? My jewelry for all eternity is going to be part of history,” she said. “For me, it’s worth it.” She continues in her official press release: "It's a privilege to be a part of history. Today the country has new hope. The First Lady is a symbol of hope, courage and great style. I am honored that she has chosen my jewelry. Words cannot describe the emotions I feel that Michelle Obama has allowed me to be a part of this glorious moment." The Michelle Signet Ring: Image used with kind permission from Loree Rodkin More glorious diamond jewels after the jump: The Inaugural Earrings: The Inaugural Bangle Bracelets: Images used with kind permission from Loree Rodkin

In Uplifting (J. Crew) Fashion

Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

For tonight's "Kids' Inaugural: We Are the Future" concert, Mrs. O again dazzled in true First Lady style. The colors of the night were blue and yellow, a palette that exuded much needed optimism.  Mrs. O's message? In keeping with the theme of National Service Day she told her youthful audience: "You kids are the future of this great nation. We need every American to serve their community, including our young people."

Wearing a silver blue metallic lace shell paired with a sky blue pencil skirt, Mrs. O kept her look young and fresh by adding a canary yellow cardigan into the mix. An elastic belt cinched her waist, closed by a distinctive (and familiar) enamel buckle. Again recycling accessories, Mrs. O wore a set of diamond bangle bracelets we recognized from election night; and might her drop earrings have been the work of Loree Rodkin for a second night running? For a full view of Mrs. O's outfit, click here and here. T

onight's ensemble was feminine, while full of unexpected pairings - and for both of these things, thoroughly modern. By our account, this is already an inauguration for the ages, style and otherwise. Needless to say, we look forward to tomorrow immensely.

Update: For Monday night's "Kids Inaugural" concert, Mrs. O turned to chic and affordable retailer J. Crew for her wardrobe. Mrs. O wore a classic olive cashmere cardigan over a French metallic lace shell with a deep blue wool serve pencil skirt (the shirt and shell were lined in silk charmeuse). The ensemble was specially designed for Mrs. O, but highlights will appear in the Fall 2009 J. Crew collection.

A sketch of the J. Crew design: 


Behind the Scenes of Election Night


Photos from Flickr user Barack Obama via David Katz for Obama for America // Creative Commons 

The Obama Campaign has released exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from election night. From the backstage waiting room to their grand stage at Grant Park, the images are charged with emotion. You can just feel the nervous anticipation transform to joy and excitement. If you have a few minutes, we recommend a look at the full Flickr set here.

We have to say, the more we study Mrs. O's Narciso Rodriguez dress, the more we grow to like it, particularly in the images above. Certainly it was unexpected, but perhaps we just needed a few days to settle into it, much like a new haircut. And we have to wonder if such vehement negative reactions are only a sign that it's fashion forward. Will we look back in a few months and find ourselves wearing ombre effect red and black frocks, the joke on us?

Of note, the first image above provides a good view of Mrs. O's Loree Rodkin earrings. We know Mrs. O is a devoted patron of Chicago's Ikram boutique, which conveniently carries the designer's jewelry collection.