(The cloche, decorated with a Swarovski crystal encrusted bow, cost $179 (£129) and came from Mr Song Millinery in Detroit, the Motor City, where Luke Song has been making hats for 25 years.)
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Here is a bolder woman, a serious woman from Chicago and Harvard who is not afraid to express herself with fashion, and it is the kind of confidence that many women will recognize in themselves. Her clothes tell us that she has an adventurous spirit, as well as a sense of humor, and if some of these garments have almost an old-fashioned womanly quality, then they tell us that she is indeed not your average fashionista.
Her inaugural outfit, designed by Isabel Toledo, was made of Swiss wool lace, backed with netting for warmth, and lined in French silk. Mrs. Obama also wore a cardigan over the sleeveless dress, as a buffer to the cold. She had on pale green leather gloves and a flat, latticelike necklace with clear stones.
Long considered a designer’s designer because of her attention to craft and her sensitivity to unusual detail, Ms. Toledo said she made the yellow outfit especially for Mrs. Obama. But until she saw the new first lady on television leaving Blair House for the trip to the Capitol with her husband, she did not know positively whether Mrs. Obama would wear the clothes or something from another designer. There has been a fair amount of secrecy around Mrs. Obama’s inaugural wardrobe, and even the designers who were asked to make clothes for her said they were not told in advance which outfits she would choose.“I wanted to pick a very optimistic color, that had sunshine,” Ms. Toledo said in a telephone interview from her studio in New York. “I wanted her to feel charmed, and in that way would charm everybody else.”
Interesting that she's now worn two Cuban-American designers (Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren must be spitting tacks) - perhaps signalling an end to the absurd US trade policy with Cuba
As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.