Last month, timeless retail giant Gap made a bold statement by announcing it would raise its minimum hourly wage to $10 for its 60,000 hourly workers nationwide. The move came as uplifting news to employees of countless Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta stores in the US, but they’re not the only ones impressed: The American brand also caught the attention of the President.
Barack Obama showed his support for Gap’s new salary initiative—which falls right in line with a Democratic effort to raise the federal minimum wage by 2016—by visiting its flagship location in midtown Manhattan this week, cracking jokes with employees and even doing a little shopping. He spent $155 on goodies for his family, including a blue track jacket for Michelle and cotton sweaters for Sasha and Malia. He opted for cardigans for the girls over Gap’s signature V-neck sweaters, joking that he didn’t want the necklines to “slip” while his daughters wore them. “I think they’d be impressed by my style sense,” he said of the picks.
Try as we might, no one does black tie in this town better than Michelle Obama.
The First Lady stunned at last night’s White House’s dinner honoring French President François Hollande in a custom-made, powder-blue-and-black gown by Carolina Herrera—a powerhouse label for elegant eveningwear and a favorite of such high-profile clients as Sofia Vergara and Anna Wintour. Mrs. Obama has worn the Venezuelan designer on several occasions, including during a trip to Berlin last year.
Apparently we’re not the only fans of the California-based blow-dry salon. A tipster tells Washingtonian that President Obama’s 15-year-old daughter, Malia, had her hair done this weekend at Drybar on Bethesda Row.
The First Daughter was seen at the chic locale Saturday afternoon, reportedly dancing around the salon with a group of girlfriends from Sidwell Friends School. There’s no word on what style she requested—we happen to think she’d look beautiful with a side-parted Cosmo—but we do know the girls were prepping for the school’s annual Valentine’s Day dance that evening.
She makes headlines across the world by sporting a new hairstyle, sends crowds to the mall to get their hands on her accessories, and shatters the stigma of a fashionless Washington with her gala attire. It goes without saying at this point that Michelle Obama is a major style icon. From White House business meetings to black-tie affairs to pop-culture appearances, the First Lady always finds a way to wow us with her bold taste in designers and all-around fashion-forward wardrobe. In honor of her birthday, here’s a look back at some the most eye-catching fashion moments of her 50th year.
All photographs via the official White House Flickr, unless otherwise noted.
In 2009, Jason Wu was just baby-stepping into the fashion world when Michelle Obama put his designs on global display, wearing his ivory one-shoulder gown with appliqué to President Obama’s first inaugural ball. In January, when Mrs. Obama opted once again for a Wu inaugural dress, this time a red velvet and chiffon number, it was clear the Taiwanese-born, New York-based fashion designer was one of the First Lady’s favorites—and now a bona fide star in the industry. (FLOTUS also wore a red and black Wu dress to February’s State of the Union address.) Wu will be in Chevy Chase on April 11 for a trunk show and appearance at Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as to host his fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection on the runway at the third annual Great Ladies’ Luncheon, which will take place in a New York Fashion Week-inspired tent being constructed in the parking area adjacent to the store. Prior to his visit, we had the opportunity to chat with Wu about inspiration for his new collection and why no one ever tells the First Lady what to wear.
Sporting bangs and baring her signature toned arms, Michelle Obama graces the April cover of Vogue magazine in a deep blue, V-neck Reed Krakoff dress from her personal collection. Perched on a piece of furniture, against a vibrant green backdrop, Mrs. Obama looks poised, modern, and comfortable—and seasonally on trend; the dress even has a punch of eggplant, one of spring’s hottest hues. Her personal hair and makeup team of Johnny Wright and Carl Ray, respectively, handled her beauty looks—a testament to Mrs. Obama’s loyalty to her own camp. Wright and Ray have both worked with the First Lady for several years, and both are locally based—Wright at Immortal Beloved, and Ray at George at the Four Seasons Salon.
In the accompanying profile, Mrs. Obama, who was last on Vogue’s cover in 2009, and her husband talk parenting, fashion, and marital strength with writer Jonathan Van Meter, who played off the couple’s affection for one another, something that didn’t go unnoticed by other members of the Vogue team during the two-day shoot, which took place at the White House in January (as we first reported). “There’s a lot of huggin’ going on,” noted famed photographer Annie Leibovitz at one point during the session with the Obamas, wherein Mrs. Obama drapes herself across the side of an arm chair for an embrace with her husband, as he casually rests his arm on her lap.
As for her sartorial advice, Mrs. Obama tells Van Meter: “I always say that women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves. That’s what I always try to do.” The First Lady obviously feels good about Krakoff, an American designer frequently on her wardrobe rotation, most recently at her husband’s swearing-in ceremony in January, for which she selected another of the designer’s blue dresses. For the other photographs in the Vogue story, Mrs. Obama reportedly wore a Michael Kors sweater and ballgown ensemble. The April issue of Vogue hits newsstands on March 26.
By Natalie Grasso
1) "Naeem Khan's floral masterpiece! Spring is in the air, and Khan's floral one-shoulder gown is one of the season's knockouts. It speaks to Mrs. Obama's classic-with-a-twist style, combining her love of color and prints in one glamorous gown. I'd love to see her wear her hair up and work an exquisite pair of shoulder-skimming earrings that move when she speaks."