Michelle Obama Vogue Cover: Will The Stylish First Lady Run For Office? [PHOTOS & REPORT]
- 10 pictures
Michelle Obama has scored her second Vogue cover in six years!
She covers the April 2013 issue of the fashion glossy on the heels of rumors that she'll run for Vice President in 2016 with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour raised over $4 million for Barack Obama's re-election campaign last year, so it's no surprise that the First Lady and her husband sat for an interview.
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Obama wears a blue Reed Krakoff dress that shows off her famously toned arms. The Jason Wu sheath she wore on her 2009 cover did the same. The Krakoff is from Obama's own closet. "If you're comfortable in your clothes, it's easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well," she said. Obama wore a different Reed Krakoff dress at her husband's swearing-in ceremony, which she paired with a new set of bangs.
She's the most fashion-forward White House resident since Jacqueline Kennedy, thanks in part to her relative youth. Her husband became President when she was 44 — Kennedy was 31. (The youngest first lady was Frances Folsom Cleveland, who married President Grover Cleveland in the executive mansion when she was only 21.)
Obama has been praised by the Council of Fashion Designers in America for promoting American designers—and thus, commerce—by wearing Jason Wu, Michael Kors, and J. Crew. She and her daughters Sasha and Malia have gotten much media attention for wearing the latter because it's so accessible to ordinary citizens.
Her fashion choices were even the subject of scrutiny during her husband's run against John McCain in 2008. Cindy McCain infamously wore a $300,000 outfit to that year's Republican National Convention, while Obama wore a Thakoon dress to the Democratic National Convention. Political pundits used the choices to illustrate fundamental differences between the two parties.
Jason Wu was a little-known designer when Obama chose his white one-shouldered gown to wear at the 2009 Inaugural Ball. Then he blew up: Wu was named a CFDA Award finalist (he later won the Womenswear award), collaborated with Roger Vivier, expanded into Asian markets, and Obama wore his dress on her first Vogue cover. Plus, the inaugural dresses go to the National Archives and are displayed at the Smithsonian. Two of his gowns will be preserved for history.
Obama's support of up-and-coming American designers is nothing to sneeze at: a Harvard Business Review study found that the collective value to designers of Obama's clothing choices at public appearances was estimated at $2.7 billion. Kate Middleton has a similar, though magnified, effect with British designers.
However, the CFDA, led by Diane von Furstenberg, was miffed when Obama chose a red Alexander McQueen dress to wear to a much-publicized state dinner for Chinese president Hu Jintao. "Our First Lady Michelle Obama has been wonderful at promoting our designers, so we were surprised and a little disappointed not to be represented for this major state dinner," the statement from Von Furstenberg said.
Oscar de la Renta has been a little more vocal whenever Obama chooses not to wear American designers, as she did on a 2009 trip to Europe. "Our industry right now is having a very difficult time. I think it would be great if the First Lady dressed in American styles. There are a lot of talented people here too," he said after she wore Azzedine Alaia, Etro and Moschino in London.
She has noticeably favored young designers and stayed away from fashion giants like de la Renta, Donna Karan, and Ralph Lauren. Vera Wang told WWD that she'd love to be considered by the First Lady because "she represents modern womanhood, a brilliant, active woman and mother, because of her position, her beauty and her stature," Wang said. "She is the face of America."
Obama's inauguration gown this year was also a Jason Wu — flaming red instead of white, or blue for that matter. At the time, many fashion editors dubbed the color and style a daring choice. Nancy Reagan red? Not a chance. Colors shifted, and so did perspectives.
Obama has not expressed any interest in running for office. But supporters around Washinton are apparently floating the idea of a 2016 Democratic "dream ticket" of two First Ladies: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. Late night host Jimmy Fallon recently asked Obama if she'd consider a run for president. "You know, I have my eye actually on another job. You know I hear that when Jay Leno retires, that The Tonight Show position is gonna be open and I'm thinking about putting my hat in the ring," she joked.
Clinton has denied any interest in a 2016 run as well. "I am really looking forward to stepping off the fast track that I've been on. I've been out of politics as Secretary of State. I don't see myself getting back into politics," she told NPR in January. Despite this, recent polls show Clinton well ahead of other Democratic frontrunners.
Unlike Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton rarely made fashion waves when living in the White House. Nevertheless that would be some power ticket.