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. Greg

    Read the rest of the story. Oscar is jealous!!!!!! Just ask the First Lady to wear some of your clothes idiot. But you probably have screwed that up now.

    April 3, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Kevin

    Her Majesty didn't seem to mind. Why should Mr de la Renta?

    April 3, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. ERP

    Contrary to Mr. de la Renta's sour grapes on stuffy fashion taste, I say three cheers for a truly classy, authentic American first lady who showed genuine warm respect towards another classy lady, while at the same time not bowing to dépassé old world royalty.

    April 3, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. Laura

    The Queen didn't mind at all, even put her arm around Mrs. Obama in a rare display of affection. The Queen is the hostess at Buckingham Palace, not Mr. de la Renta. If the Queen doesn't care, with all due respect I think Mr. de la Renta should keep his mouth shut.

    April 3, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. mrs b

    Oscar de la Renta does not understand the change that is happening here. Many women in this country consider even J Crew as not affordable. Come on designers – she is lovely. As a woman who chould not begin to afford Oscar de la Renta, I appreciate her message. I doubt the queen minded the sweater.

    April 3, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. Recessionista NY

    I read that WWD article this afternoon. The whole thing reads like Sour Grapes. I think the First Lady was a lovely representative inside and out in England and at the G20 events (and now on to France). I love that she wears and supports young American designers. Perhaps Mr. De La Renta should take a clue from Mrs. Obama and not the other way around. She is in touch with the times and the people (and I am a lot more interested in what is on her mind then on her back). God Bless American and God Save the Queen.

    April 3, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. annick

    No Oscar , you don't understang. It is time for change. No more dressing as usual. Go and take care of ms Sarkozy and leave Michelle alone. She is just herself and she rocks!!!

    April 3, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Nicole l

    I understand this is a global economy, but I am excited that Michelle Obama is focusing in our economy. No one is asking the wives of other leaders what they are wearing. Go Michelle put America on the world’s map for fashion. Oscar de la Renta needs to accept Michelle Obama’s choices. She is creating a new trend. She dances to her own tune and that is what makes her unique. A true woman of the 21st century.

    April 3, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Oscar De La Renta has to get a grip. Economy is hurting. To bad that not everyone can afford his clothing line. Obama's represent the world. Not the fashion world.

    April 3, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  10. strong

    What's the matter with the sweater? It looks nice, even on Michelle.

    If anything, the Queen should spruce up her wardrobe. It has always been dull, boring and dowdy.

    April 3, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. River70

    Can't we talk about something of importance. Michelle has the right to wear what she wants and btw, why should she look dowdy like most of the others?

    April 3, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. No Hillary = No Obama

    The Obama's don't care about some rich old white lady. Had this been an African Queen instead of the English Queen – then maybe they would have shown more regard.

    April 3, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. jay

    Oh he should get lost. How many people can afford their 5k -25k clothes. it's not if MO wears any of their clothes they will fly of the shelves.

    April 3, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. Dianne

    In applaud Michele Obama for her choice in wearing J.Crew. But, I can't afford a $300 cardigan.

    April 3, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. Oscar de la Renta is for old ladies

    Oscar has sour grapes and his designs are stale.

    April 3, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  16. Gary Jaussaud

    gary's comment is:

    Oscar is only mad because she does not wear anything from him, He
    will just need to get over it, And lets talk about the Queen that has worn
    the same style clothing for over 50 years. She is hardly a fashion plate.
    I think Michelle Obama does just fine, at least she pulls things off
    really well. After all Mr. De La Renta it is 2009 and a new World, I really
    suggest you speak to the Queen about her clothes.

    April 3, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. Scott

    This is not news. We finally have a President and First Lady of substance and depth. Stick to reporting news!!

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

    Who cares what this person thinks. With all the things going on in the world and in the US, this merits an article? When Oscar de la Renta is hurting as bad financially as the rest of Americans and the world, then maybe we'll listen.

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

    Maybe Mr. De la Renta needs a reality check. A huge portion of the population of real Americans cannot afford (nor care to wear) over-priced designers. And isn't living beyond our means what precipitated this economic mess anyways?

    April 3, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. GeorgiaPeachforObama

    Apparently you can and she did.

    April 3, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. phoenix86

    Come on Oscar, she needs the sweater to cover up a tank-top.

    April 3, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. Get Real!!

    Never mind the sweater, Mrs. Obama pretty much nudged the Prince right out of the picture! The four were standing there, the Prince touched Obama's wife and pulled her to his left. She walked right in front of the Prince (blocking him from photogs) and nudged him right out of this very shot!

    April 3, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Kaitlin

    All I have to say is "LOL, Oscar de la Renta!"

    April 3, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  24. PK California

    He's just jealous that she chooses simplicity over flashy. SHE makes the clothes. The clothes don't make her!!!!!

    April 3, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  25. Ann

    Michelle is beautiful no matter what she wears, a $300.00 sweater or a $3000.00 one.

    April 3, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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