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

Oscar de la Renta has tough words for Michelle Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/03/art.michelle.gi.jpg caption=" 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. Oscar Dde La Renta rules

    and so do all these other fashion people, they make our lives more colorful and raise the bar of sophistication and discourse more than perhaps any other profession

    Hats off to you

    April 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. The Broker.

    Will she and Obama, give all these cloths back, when they lose the election four years from now? You all demanded Sarah Palin should..

    April 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. MLH

    Get a grip, Oscar! If you don't feel that one should go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater, then don't. Our First Lady looked perfectly acceptable for an audience with the Queen of England.

    April 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. FreeNLovIT

    Yeah, I think she needed to be in a suit!

    April 3, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. Danny J

    I understand she's trying to reflect everyday Americans with her fashion choices. But De La Renta is right: even everyday Americans know better, and can manage to find something better to wear when visiting the Royal Palace.

    April 3, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. George

    I think that had it been anyone else wearing the outfits Obama has been wearing, they'd be slammed.

    April 3, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  7. texas girl

    The "fist lady?" Hmmm......

    April 3, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. kayla

    maybe mr. de la renta. should give michelle some of his clothes, if he wants her to wear something else. michelle is not a fashionista. she is an educated attorney with substance.

    April 3, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Karl

    Who cares? De La Renta just wants attention and besides there are more important things to worry about

    April 3, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. Adam P.

    Can we get off the subject of Michelle Obama's fashion choices? No one cares. It does nothing but distract the country from real news stories that they SHOULD know about. America's problems have no sense of fashion, and they couldn't care less if she was wearing an evening gown or a bathrobe. I am now dumber for knowing Oscar de la Renta doesn't like her fashion, and the rest of America is too.

    April 3, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. lasre

    i love de la renta's designs. but i wish he would shut up. i feel better mrs. o is wearing a cheaper sweater when the whole world's finance is in ruins. i don't care if she wore a potato sack to the thing.

    April 3, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. John

    De la Renta said “American fashion right now is struggling.”

    This is 100% true. Textile industry of North Carolina has collapsed.

    Textile industry on North Carolina needs a bailout more than AIG and the Auto industry.

    April 3, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. Dave in Arizona

    De la Renta should also give us all of the protocol he has learned regarding the reach around.

    April 3, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  14. Andy

    Gee that's a really objective opinion. If I were a car manufacturer, I'd probably think the Obamas should buy more cars, too.

    April 3, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. Elenadia from NY

    I love the fact that Michelle Obama wears new, young designers and doesn't think that she has to be dressed bt the last century designers, e.g. Oscar De la R.enta

    April 3, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Sammy

    Well mr fashion designer... the masses have spoken and they dont agree with you.

    April 3, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. Cali Girl

    Oscar is just pissed that Michelle didn't buy some overpriced piece of cloth from him.

    Oscar, you can keep your over-priced threads. Michelle represents middle class America. Not you or your clients.

    April 3, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  18. mimi

    Leave this woman alone...she's doing great and she looks great. Sorry if Haute Coutoure is having a bad moment now.

    April 3, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. dee

    Oh please!!! There are more important things to worry about on the planet than whether or not Mrs. Obama wears a sweater!!

    April 3, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. Ken in NC

    Oscar Dde La Renta can speak all he wants but I think that The First Lady is her own lady and not about to be guided by the likes of him. I think that because she wears something I do not much care for, that doesn't make it a screw up. Maybe he should stick to his own designs and not worry about getting her business.

    April 3, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. The Broker.

    Fashion? The last Auto I had in Europe. Was a Citron-Dyane.
    2 Cylinder. Great little thing. But as you keep saying, you live in the: fast lane.
    Why would you want to slow down. You could head for infinity.

    April 3, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. Karen

    Can we say sour grapes? I think we can.

    April 3, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  23. Adam G.

    Oh,wait... no one cares what a fashion designer thinks. These are the same people who tape feathers to stick-thin models, have them walk down a runway, and call it "fashion".

    When I first saw this headline, I thought it was about a boxer. But then again, all of my clothes come from stores where you can also buy groceries.

    April 3, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. Emma, San Jose

    Michelle can be forgiven any fashion criticism because she is a substantive woman who need not dress to please.

    April 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. gail

    Mr. de la Renta needs to realize that Mrs. Obama is wearing what she likes and wht she feels comfortable in. The designers that she is featuring in Europe are the same designers that dressed her in America before she was the President's wife. Also, I do not think wearing high end , expensive fashion like de la Renta is the right message during a global recession. Mrs. Obama has looked confident and radiant in everything she has worn including her sweater that she wore to meet the Queen which was a nod to modesty which was evident when she later took it off for the evening festivities. Practical is what she is. Sound like sour grapes from Mr. de la Renta and his clothes aren't all that fabulous anyway. I hope she never wears anything from him.

    April 3, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
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