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. Cali4nia

    Oscar de la Renta can stuff it. His opinions have been valued for far too long and he's becoming more and more irrelevant in today's Gen Y leaning society.

    April 3, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. dumbocrat alert

    please explain what the attraction for this woman is!!!...i give her a 3 for that and a 10 for drama queen.

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

    When will she learn to play it safe with stretch polyester slacks like Laura???

    April 3, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. sunnydee

    J. Crew and other retailers like them deserve as much publicity from Michele Obama's closet as the higher end fashion designers. Maybe someone should do a little digging as to where these "american" designs (high or low end) are manufactured and then support those who are supporting the american worker?

    April 3, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Michael

    Oh my god. Stop the presses.

    April 3, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Jack

    Mr. De La Renta is an arrogant, envious, boorish, fool. Ms. Obama can certainly wear whatever she deems appropriate. To hell with cry-baby fashion designers.

    April 3, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Renata Nicole

    I think it is so dumb to waste time talking about the First Lady's wardrobe on major news. Why not leave that up for those flaky people writing fashion magazines. The are a lot more important stories to be reporting on. I don't give a rats butt if Mrs. Obama comes outside in a sack cloth, that does not make her less of a person. Why doesn't the media spend that much time talking about the suit Mr. Obama wears or his shoes. Mrs. Obama is more than her clothes!

    April 3, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. BKrause

    You do, now, Oscar.

    April 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. Jennifer Boyd

    She looks great in the cardigan over her dress. And why cannot American fashion industry have a booost during this tough time.

    April 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  10. aware

    Michelle has nice arms but she is short waisted and broad hipped so nothing much looks great on her! 🙂

    April 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Machiavelli, Baton Rouge, LA

    Sounds like Oscar is trying to pick up a little business!!!

    April 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. cheryl

    To each their own, For the most part I love Michelle's choice of clothes. If it turns out that J. Crew is making money hand over fist, then so be it.

    April 3, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Cindy

    No doubt the high priced designers are hurting because of the economic bubble burst. No doubt makers of private jets are hurting too. Perhaps Oscar and Co needs to retool, like the car industry. Make a more affordable line, and Michelle may opt to wear that line, as well as J Crew.

    Think about it.

    April 3, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. Eve McGovern

    Give the poor woman a break. I am glad that she does what she wants , and does not try to impress anybody.

    April 3, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. ray ray

    Honestly – I have always been proud of my country..... until now.

    Once reputable news outlets fall over themselves getting tingly over the Obamas. What's she wearing??? His speech was magnificent!! The world loves us again!!

    The media has so lovingly (and blindly) embraced the Obamas, they have a vested interest in the Obama's success.

    Once a government watchdog, the media is now the White House guard dog.

    April 3, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. crumudgeon

    oh please...all the more respect for M.O. that the's 'regular' and doesn't concern herself with saving "the flailing fashion industry". Maybe it's failing because it should.

    April 3, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. Deb in Colorado

    Oscar de la Renta needs to get a life. Not everyone thinks clothes have to cost thousands to be stylish. There was nothing wrong with the First Lady's attire to meet the Queen. Is he pouting because she wasn't wearing something of his?

    April 3, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  18. Michael

    Maybe if O-d-la-R actually designed fashion for typical Americans (and I know he has clothes in the mall stores, but his primary and strongest claim-to-fame is high end celebrity style clothes) then he would have some reason to be critical; but until then, shut up.

    Mrs. Obama has not just now started buying/wearing mainstream middle American fashions such as the J Crew line (although I don't think too many 'girls next door' are purchasing the $300 sweater from the other day or the $75 gloves she wore at the Inauguation); this is not just a political image thing – it's just herself being a down-to-earth sensible worman.

    Maybe with this kind of mentality being demonstrated we can stop being so consumed with the labels we wear and paying exhorbant prices for them and start spending those resources on more practical and longlasting things.

    April 3, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. B

    Michelle Obama looks great. I'm more worried about that pink sack that her Highness is wearing.

    April 3, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. magella

    Sure, Oscar. And you and your fashions are relevant how?

    Mrs. Obama is already being scrutinized for everything she does. The last thing she needs is to be lambasted for wearing expensive clothes (like yours) during a recession.

    April 3, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  21. linda

    When Mr. De la Renta starts designing affordable clothing for struggling Americans, maybe Michelle will start wearing "designer" clothing. She is an elegant and positive role model. I wouldn't be surprised if the Queen bought one of those J. Crew cardigans online and has it stashed in her closet.....

    April 3, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. chandler

    Oscar, you are so old, you probably helped dress the Pharohs when they were being placed in their tombs. You are not relevant anymore. Jackie's gone,so get over it. Michelle is current and hot and you are not!

    April 3, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. Judy

    Sounds like sour grapes to me, De la Renta!

    April 3, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. dave

    fashion? FASHION? The world goes to heck in a hand basket, and we are worried about what we are wearing? "Does my life jacket match my skirt?" said the dimwit on the Titanic... Surely, we can find something of more import to consider, like how to deal with a rising "rest of the world", rather than spend energy discussing which outfits are most appropriate. what a total non-story, waste of time.

    April 3, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. Don B.

    Oscar, you do better during Republican administrations. Mrs. Obama, like her husband, does not care about just following the same old rules. Step out of the light Oscar! Your time has come and gone.

    April 3, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
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