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. Augustine

    Hey, Oscar, if the shoe were on the other foot, would we have heard from you? When the fox could not get the grapes, he said they were sour. Look at the first lady and weep.

    April 3, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  2. Kate Wintermeyer

    What is unfortunate is that even a $300 J. Crew sweater is not affordable to "most" of us.

    April 3, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  3. marielle

    Oscar....Good Grief! The Queen didn't look affended by Michelle's outfit. Our hope is that HRH is less shallow than that. I am guessing that the world's problems go beyond petty sniping about the wardrobe of a president's wife.

    April 3, 2009 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  4. LT

    I think the First Lady can wear whatever she wants to wear Oscar de la Renta. She is a reasonable woman who doesn't wear single pieces that cost as much as most people's mortgages. The Queen didn't seem to mind, case closed.

    April 3, 2009 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  5. Caren

    Oscar De La Renta needs a reality check. What Mrs. Obama wore was not only appropriate but was in good taste. Not everyone needs to wear designer clothes to highten their position. She has obviously proved that!

    April 3, 2009 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  6. Perusing-through

    "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.


    April 3, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |

    Really, Michelle Obama should flaunt excess just to give the most superfluous industry of all (fashion) a boost? Have we not had enough of style over substance in this country? Eight years of idiocracy parading around as a "cowBOY" seems to me enough. A sweater for the queen seems quite alright with me.

    April 3, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. Katie

    Snobby!!! At a time like this when people can't afford to put food on the table we're supposed to be thinking about rescuing haute couture?!?!?

    April 3, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  9. Julie

    Oscar de la Renta is a horrible person. Who gives a flip about a black sweater????? She looked beautiful. There are lots of other things in this world to comment on or to worry about. How about Oscar takes all his money and clothes the homeless? Do something real. SHEEESH!

    April 3, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  10. andy m

    Michelle looks well dressed to me Oscar.

    April 3, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  11. Say It Out Loud

    A First Lady who wears affordable American made clothes and it's wrong because she should be spurring on the lagging fashion business?? I don't think so! IF she wore over priced fashion she'd be blasted for flaunting while the rest of country scrapes to make ends meet.

    April 3, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  12. xyzwanda

    Who cares what she was wearing! She has more to offer than just fashion! Can America talk about someting else! Mr. De La Renta are you just mad because she hasn't reached out to you and the other the top designers...that most Americans CAN'T AFFORD ANYWAY!

    April 3, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  13. sam

    Obviously, Oscar wants some attention. I think that Mrs. Obama should wear whatever she wants–what she says is more important and she has her own style. I love that she is down to earch and doesn't wear a lot of expensive designer clothes. She is an intelligent, educated, beautiful woman and she doesn't need Oscar at all.

    April 3, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  14. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    Yeah, okay, she's no Jackie O but she'll do. So J Crewe will do better than haute couture while Obama occupies the presidency.

    April 3, 2009 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  15. Bryan Loader

    Are there not several more important issues facing the world today than the hurt feelings of some fashion designer? Personnaly I don't care if President amd Ms Obama wear Levis and Fruit of the loom T shirts if they help get the job done

    April 3, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  16. BKMC

    Oscar de la rente is a conservative thinker who does not understand Michele's principles. He has it wrong completly. Michelle is great and a wonderful human being

    April 3, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  17. Maggie

    Michelle Obama has shown great capability in her style choices. She is secure enough with herself to demonstrate that she does not need Oscar de la Renta's suggestions (or criticisms) to make wardrobe decisions. Laura Bush spent enough with Oscar to support him for awhile. "if you can't say something nice......say nothing!"

    April 4, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  18. fefe

    I think the first lady looked beautiful in her sweater, and was being her self

    April 4, 2009 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  19. JayCo

    Michelle Obama should wear what she likes. It is a part of who she is.

    April 4, 2009 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  20. lmz0405

    I disagree! I think Mrs. Obama looked beautiful and I praise her for wearing clothes that most of America can afford to purchase. As a 27 year old woman, I am tired of our role models wearing articles of clothing that cost more than my rent. Fashion has gotten out of control. I appreciate what Mrs. Obama is doing anf think De La Renta should learn to scale down.

    April 4, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  21. Kirk

    Who cares what Oscar de La what?? thinks. How many ordinary Americans and British have toured Buckingham Palace in a sweater? I bet the Queen herself wears sweaters when she is in public (gasp!). Typical high class nonsense – the struggling fashion industry! Ha! There are all those unemployed designers and models struggling to find a decent paying job – makes my heart break. C'mon, most of them have a personal net worth that would make my income look like a paupers! Wear whatever the heck you want Michelle!

    April 4, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  22. mmm

    Finally!!! Thank you Oscar de la Renta!

    April 4, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. Sharon

    She has 4 years and many events and designers to wear. Leave her alone and let her develop her own style as she gets used to her new role. We see her as stately. However, she may see herself as regular and need some time to "get there". In the meantime, she is doing a fine job making everyday folk comfortable with her and her family.

    April 4, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  24. jj

    I see people do not have nothing else to talk about. I think she look great as a frist lady. So please stop hating. Grow up, Lets talk about how we going to get our encomy back on track or what we can do.

    April 4, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  25. Mike H.

    Too much attention is being focused on Michelle Obama's clothes. Quite frankly I don't care if she wears a potato sack or frolicks in her birthday suit. All I care about is that she represent our nation in a way that benefits us.

    April 4, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
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