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. Graham Miller

    Yes, shame on Mrs. Obama for not wearing pointlessly lavish and expensive clothing during an economic recession. It's so damaging for the economy when the first lady wears clothes a middle class person may actually be able to afford and causes a dramatic increase in sales among the most important group in our economy.

    I certainly hope this has a negative backlash on this pompous jerk's clothing line.

    April 3, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. RutyYou

    Oscar de la Renra needs to get a hobby and stop his unsolicited opinion. No one cares what he thinks. Michelle Obama is a class act.

    April 3, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. Carol

    I was also aghast when I saw what she had on to see the Queen. Her arms should have been covered. I don't why Michelle thinks everyone wants to see either her arms or her armpits when she wears sleeveless things. So far I think her choice of fashion has not been appropriate for a First Lady on many occasions.

    April 3, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  4. D. Kisting

    He's "full of crap"! That's just to put it bluntly.

    April 3, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Doug Brendel

    A sweater to see the Queen! It's perfect! Hooray, Michelle!

    April 3, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. muzik

    Oscar de la Renta is right. What was Michelle Obama thinking, when she wore a sweater to the Palace?? I thought the same thing. She should have dressed more respectfully for the Queen, and m ore formally. Just because she is casual, doesn't mean everyone in the world is casual.

    April 3, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  7. Steven Zhang

    who cares?

    April 3, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  8. laurie

    Give me a break, Michelle Obama looks great in everything, which proves you do not have to spend designer $$ to look great! To Oscar de la Renta – maybe those days are over, get with the program.

    April 3, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. sprkl12000

    I thought Michelle looked fine the entire trip...Oscar is probably just a little p.o'd because she didn't wear his stuff...if she would have been wearing high line expensive fashions, folks would complain that she had no regard to the financial crisis people are having and is flaunting her wealth...

    April 3, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. L in CA

    Oscar and flip his wrists and have a hissy fit if he chooses, but who really cares? Not the majority of us who can't touch the prices of his precious creations.

    April 3, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  11. Elvia

    First Lady Michelle Obama – To the world you look marvelous dahlin!!! Even if it is not an Oscar de la Renta or some other uppty designer outfit. The majority of the world does not dress in designer clothing and still look good. We do not have to walk to the beat of Designers and their take of what is in or not. We have sense enough to know what looks fabulous, right for the appropriate occassion and we also know better that we don't have to be thin stick to be fashionable. Thought I'd throw that one in.

    Women and their own sense of what is acceptable or non acceptable to one's self are the true designers of Fashion.

    April 3, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  12. jen

    Sounds like Oscar is asking first lady for a bail out of his own.

    April 3, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. Oscar

    Who cares what this idiot has to say about what Michelle Obama "should" be wearing.

    I say line the fashion designers up against the wall and... well, you get the point.

    April 3, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  14. Charlene

    Our First Lady can wear whatever she wants to...leave her alone.

    April 3, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  15. miss fritz

    Really? Come on Oscar. Please. She looked great. What the heck is wrong here? are we getting so that this is the most pressing thing on our minds? Dang.

    April 3, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  16. ga girl

    Why can't a sweater be worn to Buckingham Palace; did you not see who The First Lady was standing next to and what she had on? Michelle could've shown up in jeans and still looked better than the queen. Mrs. Obama is a young woman and doesn't have to wear those old frumpy-looking clothes like the queen. She looked just fine and who made Oscar the fashion police? Those old designer clothes look no better than J. Crew - it's a mind thing just to get people's money - because those clothes are definitely not worth the price. The $6,000 get up Sarkozy's wife had on looked like a plain old outfit that came from Macy's. There was nothing pretty about it. All I can say when she paid that much for it, she for her change!

    April 3, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  17. I love Mishi Obama

    Ocar, why don't you shove your stupid comment up your own Renta.

    Mishi Obama is a practical woman of the wold, she does not need to go jet setting around the world in over priced fashions. We've already seen that story played out on the world stage. Michelle Obama steps to the beat of her own drum not yours.

    who cares what you think anyway? opulance is out dated and shameful to promote in this downward economy. Stop thinking about yourself and what money isn't showing up in your bank account. It's time to start giving the little guy a leg up.

    April 3, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. zelda

    I like what the First Lady wears-I do not like her husband or their politics but I think see looks great.

    April 3, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. Lynn

    Does it really matter what Michelle Obama is wearing? Aren't the issues more important?!?! I think she is doing what she wants to do – wearing normal clothes and not wasting her time trying to appease these whiney designers when there are much more important issues to deal with.

    April 3, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. Charlie in Maine

    Hey Oscar, I love the clothes you make. I have one of your ties and it is great. But when it comes to dimplomacy let me ask you a simple question:
    When was the last time the Queen of England gave you a hug?

    I thought so. So lets keep the second guessing to a minimum and not make a big deal about what she is wearing. Think about her like you are a citizen of the world and forget about fashion for a moment.

    April 3, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. serah

    I think Michelle is going for affordable fashion it is hard right now. It would draw more criticism if she went for relatively costly fashions when economy is bad. She is also just wearing what she loves and what she has been wearing before she became first lady.

    April 3, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. Kathleen McShane

    With all the multiple problems facing the US, what a colossal waste of time even commenting on what Mrs. Obama wears. How is this worthy of any press? Let's focus on the real issues, not the fashion "faux pas" of the First Lady.

    April 3, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  23. BCN

    First it's "don't touch the queen!", now it's "don't wear a sweater to Buckingham Palace". The Obamas are about change, folks – get with the program!

    April 3, 2009 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  24. Kimberly Rossiter

    I think Mrs. Obama's clothing selection is right for these economic times. This is not a time for high fashion and overindulgence, it is a time to get back to the basics. Frankly, I didn't notice what designer she was or was not wearing, all I noticed was that she looked great.

    April 3, 2009 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  25. Bill_ MA

    Who really cares what De la Renta thinks?

    April 3, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
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