It isn't exactly groundbreaking to mention how well-dressed Michelle Obama has been throughout the campaign season, However, I was pleased to see her iconic status further celebrated at Elizabeth Peyton's retrospective at New Museum in New York City. After her husband's win last week, Michelle and Sasha Obama Listening to Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention August 2008 (that is a mouthful) was added to the exhibition. I've never found Elizabeth Peyton to be the most groundbreaking artist (though I do own a beach towel featuring one of her Sid Vicious sketches), but her pictures sure are pretty. And Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton will be coming to the Walker Art Center next February. So hopefully we Minnesotans will be able to check out the artist's rendering of Michelle Obama's famous Thakoon shift in person.
And on a slight tangent, I recently had a conversation with a friend who wanted to understand why I love fashion so much. She raised a lot of good points about why the fashion industry is something to be feared or scorned. It preys on our insecurities. It promotes unrealistic standards of beauty, not to mention label snobbery. It can be the most acute example of rampant materialism and consumerism. And considering that the majority of us wear clothing every day, it's not exactly the easiest thing to avoid. It's universal. But that's actually kind of why I love fashion. It can be universal in such a positive way.
A wealthy celebrity can assemble an expensive outfit, carry the it-est bag, and employ an entourage devoted solely to maintaining her hair extensions. And yeah, she probably looks good. But there are also high school girls in small towns who shop at consignment and thrift shops, and their style is often just as interesting, if not more so. I mention this because I really appreciate that for every Thakoon or Narcisco Rodriguez dress that Michelle Obama wears, there's also a Gap or H&M sundress that she's worn during public appearances. She can take something that is available at the mall (like that White House/Black Market dress that she wore on The View), and make it look like a thousand bucks. It's inspiring and a great reminder that fashion and style can be accessible to everyone, whether you're carrying a Balenciaga motorcycle bag or your mom's old purse from the 1970s.