A designer who is known for his quirky menswear is thrown into several "first" moments for today's Inauguration celebration. First Lady's ensemble is a first for Mr. Browne dressing a First Lady on this Inauguration Day although she has worn designs by him before. The outfit was inspired by necktie fabric.
January 21, 2013, 12:19 pm
A Fashion First for the Designer Thom Browne at the Inauguration
By ERIC WILSON
Luke Sharrett for The New York Times
Mrs. Obama wore a navy silk jacquard coat and dress in a checked pattern that he said was based on a men’s necktie fabric.
The following post has been extracted from The Caucus Blog:
Thom Browne landed a spot in fashion history this morning as the designer of Michelle Obama’s inaugural morning outfit, a beautiful navy silk jacquard coat and dress in a checked pattern that he said was based on a men’s necktie fabric.
Mr. Browne found out that Mrs. Obama had selected his outfit about a half-hour after television viewers, who first saw the Obama family shortly before 9 a.m. He was in Paris, on his way to a sales meeting the day after his men’s wear fashion show, when he began seeing messages.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said in a telephone interview. “It is one of those rare moments in someone’s career that you will always remember. There¹s not a word that can really describe it. It’s just amazing.”
Mr. Browne is most famous for his 12-year-old men’s wear business, specializing in tightly tailored suits. His signature design is an ankle-baring gray suit. He also designs collections for Brooks Brothers and Moncler, and his women’s collection, introduced in 2010, is slowly expanding. Mrs. Obama wore one of his dresses at the Democratic National Convention and again during one of the presidential debates last year.
The designer was introduced to Mrs. Obama at a White House event when he received a National Design Award for fashion design in 2012.
“She has been so supportive ever since then,” Mr. Browne said.
Mr. Browne designed the outfit specifically for Mrs. Obama after her office invited him to submit an idea several months ago, but he was not told in advance whether she would wear it. The coat and dress each have a fitted bodice and a slight flare below the waist.
“She’s such a strong woman,” Mr. Browne said. “I wanted her to feel good in it and to feel comfortable, strong, feminine and beautiful.”
The outfit represents something of a departure from the lemongrass yellow coat and dress designed by Isabel Toledo that Mrs. Obama wore at the first inauguration, both for its form-fitting tailoring and a notable absence of bright color. The fabric, taken from men’s neckwear, suggests a first lady who may be comfortable in designer fashion, but is also ready to get down to serious business.
There has been enormous interest inside the fashion industry in dressing Mrs. Obama and, increasingly, her daughters, who appeared this morning wearing bright purplish blue coats of similar shapes. Malia Obama’s coat was from J.Crew, and Sasha Obama wore a coat and a dress from Kate Spade. According to a White House pool report, the first lady is also wearing earrings by Cathy Waterman and J.Crew pumps.