Fawning over First Lady Michelle Obama has been over-the-top, but considering her a “deity” a “goddess,” and “a woman not to be contended with so much as worshiped from afar,” is a bit much.
Horyn compared the straight-forward, “businesslike” style of Sarah Palin to the fashion “insider” style of Obama and surprisingly praised Palin while chiding Obama for not sticking exclusively with American designers.
“Mrs. Obama's choices are all insider, apart from her shorts and those strategically worn plebe numbers from Target and Talbots. If she got any more insider, she'd be backing down a runway,” wrote Horyn. “She wears Rodarte, Jason Wu, Sophie Theallet, Narciso Rodriguez, Thakoon, Isabel Toledo and Rick Owens, labels that in terms of creativity and price are at the highest level of fashion. Go much higher and you hit couture.”
“In Mrs. Obama, the fashion industry has found a woman it can admire but cannot completely possess. That's because she doesn't favor only one designer or a clique, as her predecessors did,” Horyn continued. “Also, she avoids the appearance of being cozy with designers. That's why she's often described in terms reserved for a 1930s screen goddess: 'regal' and 'dazzling,” a woman not to be contended with so much as worshiped from afar.”
Horyn attempted to place Obama's decision to forgo American designers in context by discussing how “Jackie Kennedy, the other White House deity, had to give up her beloved Givenchy because her husband, seeking the support of labor unions, needed his wife to be seen in American-made clothes.”
Kudos to Horyn for pointing out the hypocrisy of the media frothing over Palin's wardrobe in the 2008 campaign while ignoring Obama's expensive fashion tastes.
“Indeed, the only thing more surprising than the storm over Ms. Palin's 'Pretty Woman' makeover is that almost no one has raised an eyebrow over Mrs. Obama's wearing of non-American labels…and some of the most expensive at that,” Horyn wrote.
But next time, could the Times possibly manage to criticize the First Lady without tempering that criticism by crowning her a “deity?”