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. bobcat

    What a stupid male comment. These two women quickly formed a relationship based on mutual respect and admiration. They could have worn jeans and t-shirts. Get a life Oscar. Is it all theater? Maybe something actually has meaning not just show. For what it is worth – I am a married guy with a great wife and two terrific daughters. Real people do real things.

    April 3, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. Barbara - Atlanta

    I'm sorry Oscar...but I can't afford your style. The First Lady got it right.

    April 3, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  3. Pete Collins

    Oscar's just upset because he doesn't look good in those outfits.
    He should do his job better and excite the fashion industry for himself, not rely on the First Lady to do his job for him.

    April 3, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. Sue

    Sounds like sour grapes to me. I thought she looked lovely.

    April 3, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  5. Amy

    The first lady look fab!!!!! She is a classy lady.

    April 3, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. JGSB

    She looked wonderful in what she wore to visit the Queen. I hope Michelle continues to dress in what she likes and feels comfortable in. She has a refreshing taste in clothes that is enjoyable to see.

    April 3, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  7. TJ

    a $300 sweater is NOT "realatively affordable." No doubt designer clothing cost much more, so I'm not surprised they are rightfully failing.

    April 3, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. K Faulkner

    Was it really Mrs. Obama's sweater? Maybe the queen's protocol protectors saw her - Ack! - sleeveless and insisted on covering the famous biceps.

    April 3, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  9. pam Eugene OR

    French fashion designers such as Oscar de al Renta have a financial stake in this discussion. J Crew is just fine for the Americans who can not afford $2000 for a scarf or a belt. It would be horrible for Michelle Obama to promote a European designer in these tough times. orry Oscar but J Crew suites US just fine.
    We like her look.
    Signed USA citizens

    April 3, 2009 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  10. Pel

    I think the First Lady is doing the right thing. The country is in a recession and she is maintaining her contact with the common person in general and ladies in particular by not being over expensive. She is not trying to be a pretender.

    Keep strutting your stuff First Lady

    April 3, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. Whatever

    Who cares what Oscar de la Renta thinks??? Rest assured, if she ever decides to go the "designer" route, she won't be wearing anything by him.

    Apparently you Do go to Buckingham Palace in a sweater. Michelle Obama just did. Fine by me.

    April 3, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. Boni

    The First Lady would look good in a burlap bag! She is a lovely woman and will make her mark in fashion history. I will be willing to bet that you won't hear any complaints from the queen.

    April 3, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  13. Mike

    The fashion industry is flailing because some of these designers items are far out of reach of the average american. So she wore a sweater to see the queen. Also another reason the industry is failing... cause of these snooty stuck up designers.

    April 3, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. Sandra

    Perhaps Oscar De La WAH WAH WAH WAH needs to rethink his close minded views and get off his high horse. Not everyone lives on champagne. caviar and couture (aka bent over at the knees). Who is he to say her choice of wardword is wrong and requires new directions? I think she looks classy and modern. Most Americans relate to her choice of wardrobe. This is arrogance and ignorance in one pathetic article. Speaking of the flailing economy, I'd like to know what ol Oscar the grouch is doing to contribute to the solution. Flapping his gums and criticizing sure isn't making a difference.

    April 3, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. wendy san

    I think Oscar de la Renta is jealous Lets face it, not too many working class can afford his clothes. I dont think Her Majesty the Queen minded at all.

    April 3, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  16. bfusi

    Come on ... get a life! Michelle Obama is a classy lady and "name brands" do not make the person. Don't be so shallow!

    April 3, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  17. Out of work

    De la renta is just jealous that Michelle didn't pick one of his designs. How pathetic he has to lash out in such a nasty way.

    April 3, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  18. Doug Fekete

    Why should 95% of the United States care what De la Renta says? People like him are out of touch with reality and only have a following by the rich and famous.

    April 3, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  19. Seriously

    I think most of America could care less what Oscar de la Renta has to say. We're J.Crew. Thats America.

    April 3, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  20. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    Leave Our First Lady alone!
    Michelle has looked lovely in all of the outfits she has worn so far overseas.

    April 3, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  21. SteveD

    Oscar get over it. There are far larger problems facing the world today, who cares what a designer has to say. No one cares what you or the Queen think. If that is all people had to worry about life would be good.

    April 3, 2009 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  22. kat

    Oh please !!!!!! Enough of who should be wearing what fashion and when, where and how !!!!!! No one should have to worry about getting someones feathers ruffled because they didn't pick a particular designers clothing. I buy from JC Penney, Wal-Mart and what ever I can afford. I don't care what the label says and most everyone I know feels the same. Now that my kids are grown and have their own kids its Wal-mart or Kohls and its never full price !!!!! No more jeans or footwear from the mall.

    Michelle Obama looks fantastic in what she wears. Comments have been made about her going sleeveless also. Get a life already !!!!!

    April 3, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  23. Penrosewd

    Who cares what she wore? I thought this economic crisis might get us past nonsens of that sort. She was respectably dressed, period.

    April 3, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. frankc

    maybe you should run for President and then you can wear the crap styles you push. I guess you prefer Mrs. Obama to look like a bimbo hooker rather than a professional with brains.

    April 3, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  25. just j

    wear what you want.. what makes u different from all the former first ladies

    April 3, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
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