Michelle Obama Tracy Reese Dress: Designer Talks About First Lady's DNC Outfit, Her Favorite Shoe And Bag And What She Learned On 'Project Runway' [EXCLUSIVE]

By Rachel Levine April 4, 2013 6:48 PM EDT
Michelle Obama sporting Tracy Reese at 2012's DNC Convention (Photo: Getty Images)
Michelle Obama sporting Tracy Reese at 2012's DNC Convention (Photo: Getty Images)

Did you know that a pink dress could change your life? That's exactly what happened to designer Tracy Reese last September when First Lady Michelle Obama sported her pink-and-blue frock at the Democratic National Convention to give what many consider a game-changing speech for her husband President Barack Obama.

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When FLOTUS stepped on to the stage, the crowd was wowed by her classic, custom-made dress. "We were just really proud," Reese shared exclusively with iDesign at her flagship store in NYC.  

Reese has been known in fashion circles for years (she sells her clothing at major stores such as Nordstrom and Anthropologie), but this huge moment catapulted her into national stardom.

The First Lady is known for supporting American designers like Jason Wu and Michael Kors, so that made it even more special for Reese.

First Lady Michelle Obama waves to supporters at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012 on the first day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). (Photo: Getty Images)
First Lady Michelle Obama waves to supporters at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012 on the first day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). (Photo: Getty Images)

"You know, we got a call that she needed some things - and that they were out campaigning," Reese told iDesign. "They told us she would have to make a lot of appearances. So we sent a few dresses. Low and behold it was our lucky night!"

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Reese, 49, was "so honored" that the First Lady would even want to wear her clothes! "The speech was so amazing, and that just made it all the more exciting for us. I think people were really taking it in," Reese recalled.

Tracy Reese at her 2013 Fashion Show in NYC. (Photo: Getty Images)
Tracy Reese at her 2013 Fashion Show in NYC. (Photo: Getty Images)

"I think she chose something that she felt beautiful in and it was perfectly appropriate." So appropriate that Reese decided to sell the dress online!

Now Reese is taking her newfound stardom and applying it to Project Runway as a guest judge. She told us she loved working with Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Rachel Roy.

"I think you really have to focus on the customer," Reese said about being a designer. 

The back of Reese's DNC creation for the First Lady (Photo: Getty Images)
The back of Reese's DNC creation for the First Lady (Photo: Getty Images)


"You need to take a customer's needs into consideration with everything you do," Reese said. "That's something I've learned."

"I remember that there's a person who is relying on me to supply them with X, Y and Z. And I need to come through."

That's something Reese tried to bring to the judges' table when she was helping decide who the winner of her episode should be.

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When Reese isn't busy with the First Lady and Project Runway, she enjoys stocking her own closet with fashionable finds. "I bought [my favorite Prada shoes] in Paris," the designer shared. "They're wide with criss-cross straps and cork platform sandals." Reese adores red accessories and "kelly green looks so good right now," she gushed.

Maybe Michelle Obama will be seen sporting some green Tracy Reese this upcoming spring. Either way, we bet the Obamas will catch a glimpse of Tracy Reese on Project Runway this season. Will you?

You can catch Project Runway Season 11 on Thursdays at 9pm EST (8pm CST) on Lifetime. 

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