April 3rd, 2009
09:52 PM ET
4 years ago

Oscar de la Renta has tough words for Michelle Obama

 Oscar de la Renta thinks Michelle Obama should not have worn a sweater to Buckingham Palace.
Oscar de la Renta thinks Michelle Obama should not have worn a sweater to Buckingham Palace.

(CNN) – Michelle Obama's fashion choices at the G20 summit have drawn widespread praise, but at least one famous designer thinks the fist lady made a major faux pas in her wardrobe choice for a private audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

"You don't...go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater," Oscar de la Renta told Woman's Wear Daily regarding Mrs. Obama's decision to wear a cardigan over an Isabel Toledo-designed dress for the private meeting.

De la Renta also said the first lady - who often sports relatively affordable American brands - should broaden her wardrobe and seize an opportunity to spur the flailing fashion industry.

“American fashion right now is struggling,” he said. “I think I understand what [Obama and her advisers] are doing, but I don’t think that is the right message at this particular point."

"I don’t object to the fact that Mrs. Obama is wearing J. Crew to whatever because the diversity of America is what makes this country great. But there are a lot of great designers out there. I think it’s wrong to go in one direction only," he added.

But J. Crew is likely hoping the first lady doesn't change her style any time soon. When Mrs. Obama was photographed wearing a $300 J. Crew "crystal constellation" cardigan from the mid-market retailer Tuesday, the item sold out on the company's Web site only hours later.

A spokesman for J. Crew said the item has also  sold out in nearly all the company’s stores as well.


Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Kim

    pipe down oscar; about time fashion went into the "affordable" column. 95% of the world's clothes are purchased there.

    April 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. The Broker.

    Borack charming comment1 "I am not the President". I heard him. But did you????

    April 3, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Tina

    Oh please, is this serious? By all means, if Michelle Obama showed up at Buckingham Palace in a bikini with thigh-highs and a feather boa, let's all twitter all day long about her impropriety. But it looks to me like she's wearing completely normal, respectful, conservative clothes.

    And -dies laughing at the suggestion that a leader modeling extravagant spending is what we need- A three hundred dollar sweater is considered slumming it?

    April 3, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. Steve

    She looks perfectly fine. It's materialistic people like Oscar de la Renta that doesn't realize... it's what's inside a person that matters, not particularly the clothes they were.

    April 3, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Oregon

    Just a wee bit j-e-a-l-o-u-s of Jason Wu, Isabel Toledo other American Designers, are ya Oscar?

    April 3, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Polly

    Lady Diana knew how to dress.

    April 3, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. jim - chicago, illinois

    Remind me again why this is important news?

    April 3, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. just bob

    Thank goodness there aren't any important issues in the world today. Now we all have enough time and resources to spend worrying about what the First Lady is wearing.

    What passes for news these days would make Edward R. Morrow want to kill himself.

    April 3, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Honest Abe

    Sound quite JEALOUS Mr. DeLa Renta !!! Personally, I don't like his style either (esp. the $$$). Hollywood made him successful. Stars wear it and... all the 'sheep' buy it ('sheep' rich unpopular people who want to show everyone they are rich – or who feel like they'll look like a movie star). They're twisted in the head like Oscar.

    April 3, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. ajaye

    First of all, Oscar needs to take a chill pill. He seems to be the only person bothered by what Mrs. Obama had on. I don't think the Queen cared one bit. We always tend to place too much emphasis on the things that don't really matter!

    April 3, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. La Luna

    Oscar de la Renta is right on! MO is unsofisticated and it shows! What she wore to meet the Queen was inappropriate and way too casual. She has no fashion sense whatsoever.

    April 3, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. down w/ the GOP

    Really... I mean, maybe Michelle Obama realizes how insane it is to be sporting insanely priced dresses and clothing in an effort to not show off that they have more money than the majority of Americans?

    How much more of a slap in the face would it be if she started wearing clothes that cost more than the unemployment checks for a year of a regular American.

    Good for Michelle Obama.

    April 3, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. TED

    Supporting spenditure of excessive amounts of money into the high fashion industry, a bastion of unnecessary and very expensive luxury items, at a time where the countries theme is "smart spending," is hardly what could be termed a "good idea." Besides, way to go Michelle for encouraging middle and lower classes with avoidance of flaunting her position via such luxury items. Average American families really do not need another reminder of this countries economic class divide.

    April 3, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. gerry

    Looks like Oscar De La Renta is jealous of J. Crew to me.

    April 3, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. jim carroll internetfreepress.com

    .
    Obama got it right at G20 because he believes in The Philosophy of Mixturism. Businesses and Governments working together to meet
    the needs and desires of all the people. He is the Great One.

    April 3, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Peggy - TX

    Michelle Obama's fashion choices are just fine. Maybe she was a bit cold and felt more comfortable in a sweater. I suspect she deliberately dressed modestly for the occasion – little adornment and her colors were black and white. Maybe she did not want to out shine the Queen who looked splendid in her pink outfit next to Michelle. The manner in which Michelle exerts humility with out be self effacing is admirable.

    I think Michelle is too confident to follow Oscar Dde La Renta 's arbitrary rules of the day on fashion. Frankly, it would behoove be in Oscar Dde La Renta’s to take his que from Michelle and change his approach to fashion design by providing what women want, rather then dictate to women what they should wear. He would do well to target a wider market with fun, tasteful clothes rather then try to allure only those who are so insecure that they feel they have to dress in very expensive clothes. Dressing in clothes that could feed a family of five for week is just the not appropriate in bad economic times.

    April 3, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. TED

    Supporting spenditure of excessive amounts of money into the high fashion industry, a bastion of unnecessary and very expensive luxury items, at a time where the countries theme is "smart spending," is hardly what could be termed a "good idea." Besides, way to go Michelle for encouraging middle and lower classes with avoidance of flaunting her position via such luxury items. Average American families really do not need another reminder of this country's economic class divide.

    April 3, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  18. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I'm an Old School '60s kind of Amish dude who has no use for folks who waste their time and money on the exotic creations of European poof designers, or even $300 sweaters for that matter. Comrades should adopt "Chairman Mao Chic" and work on substance rather than surface.

    April 3, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  19. sensi johnson

    Oscar should shut up! He and others like him had no intentions of ever allowing hard working and less-fortunate folks to down thier apparels. Now that the table is turning he wants to be a critique?
    Maybe when he and his friends decide to design clothes that everyday people can afford, then maybe, just maybe, the ordinary Michelle O' will give him a TRY.

    April 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. Jimmy the Greek

    How desperate are women who, like sheep, herd themselves to the store just to buy what Michelle is wearing? Or buy the latest Oprah required reading?

    What a sad country.

    April 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What Michelle wears is what we "freedom of choice", not Oscar de la Renta.

    April 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. paul

    I have to disagree with Mr De La Renta on the issue of Mrs. Obama's wardrobe choices. I think she looked beautiful that day. Everything worked from pearls to the hair to the sweater and dress combo. I think she is definitely trying to show the world that no matter how far up on the world stage she goes, she is still a simple woman with simple tastes. She is one of us.

    April 3, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  23. Patty in the CA mountains

    I'll bet J Crew isn't upset about what she wears....their sales are through the roof....

    April 3, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  24. Linda32

    Sounds like de la Renta is jealous that the First Lady has not chosen any of his designs. He's kinda ,missing the point, so oh well.

    Michelle Obama looked beautiful, the Queen was comfortable with her, and we loved it!

    April 3, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  25. Patty in the CA mountains

    and I'll bet Oscar wouldn't be complaining if Mrs O was going in his direction.....

    April 3, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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