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Who Pays for Michelle Obama’s Fantastic Designer Wardrobe?

Michelle Obama Designer Clothing Dancing

Image: JLN Photography/WENN

Michelle Obama has a singular, vibrant sense of style and a cozy relationship with the fashion industry. That's common knowledge. The First Lady, widely regarded as a style icon, has the ability to make a designer a household name or boost a brand's sales, and she has wielded her power judiciously: Mobama's high-low wardrobe mixes off-the-rack items with custom pieces designed by America's best young designers. 

We don't elect our First Ladies or pay them any kind of salary, but being the President's partner is a de facto job. For example, we expect the First Lady to participate in affairs of state — at the very least, by attending high-level public and diplomatic events. To that end, Mrs. Obama's carefully chosen wardrobe is as much a job requirement as it is a form of personal expression. 

So who pays for her clothes? Did we, the taxpayers, subsidize Mrs. Obama's two Jason Wu inaugural gowns? What about the Naeem Khan dress the First Lady wore to the recent opening of the Metropolitan Museum's new Anna Wintour Costume Institute?

According to a new report out today from the Associated Press, the answer is no:

"Laura Bush, in her memoir, said she was 'amazed by the sheer number of designer clothes that I was expected to buy' as first lady."

How does Mrs. Obama, a fashion icon with far more expensive tastes than Mrs. Bush, swing it? For starters, the Obamas reported adjusted income of $481,000 last year, and assets worth $1.8 million to $7 million. And like most people, Mrs. Obama (mostly her personal aide, really) looks for discounts.

For really big events, however, the first lady has an option not available to every fashionista. Here's how Joanna Rosholm, press secretary to the first lady, explains it:

"Mrs. Obama pays for her clothing. For official events of public or historic significance, such as a state visit, the first lady's clothes may be given as a gift by a designer and accepted on behalf of the U.S. government. They are then stored by the National Archives." For example, Michelle Obama's first inaugural gown was presented to the Smithsonian, where it is listed "gift of Jason Wu in honor of First Lady."

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David Sims Photographs His Second Marc Jacobs Ad Campaign (Forum Buzz)

David Sims returns for his second season shooting the Marc Jacobs mainline advertising campaign. (Sims first photographed Miley Cyrus for the S/S 2014 ads). This time, the British photographer shoots the Fall 2014 campaign with a sci-fi theme evidently being portrayed within this particular image. Styled by Katie Grand, models Julia Nobis and Waleska Gorczevski wear minimalist beige outfits teamed with leather satchels. Thus far, we only have the one campaign image but it's a hit with most of our forum members..

Ad Campaign Marc Jacobs F/W 14.15 David Sims


"Love it! This reminds me of the old Balenciaga campaigns by Sims," commented zacatecas570.

Justaguy was also impressed: "Oh man, so glad this wasn't shot by Juergen Teller! I'm actually loving the extreme minimalism of this campaign. Yes, Julia and Waleska look like mannequins but I think that's the point and part of the allure with the minimalist feel David Sims wanted to get across."

Emmanuelle shared a positive attitude and wrote, "Yes they look like mannequins that could be put on a shop front, but that's the aim (like Anna in the Versace campaign)! So of course it looks a bit awkward, lifeless but it is very well executed. I like the fact that the background is simple, and the light blue works well with the colors of the clothes. It's very cold and weird, but I like."

"Oh I absolutely love this! I can feel the coldness and sterility and I love those colours. Waleska looks amazing, and hopefully more models will surface. Switching to Sims was a very good idea," wrote anlabe32.

However, not everyone was satisfied with TREVOFASHIONISTO commenting, "I feel like this could have been better executed with a cool theme had Juergen photographed it."

"I'm not quite sure about this, it feels a little too sci-fi for me," wrote Riseup.

Stay tuned for the full campaign, but in the meantime, check out the thread and join the discussion here.

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Ollie Henderson Starts a Riot in NYC

One of the most interesting new labels at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia wasn’t by a TAFE grad or the next Dion Lee. It was “Start the Riot,” a line of T-shirts by model Ollie Henderson emblazoned with slogans such as “Reject Racism,” “Welfare Over Wealth” and “Sexism Sucks.”

The local lady and NYC-based model had 100 shirts printed before runway shows kicked off and probably caused a few head-turns as her model friends started popping up on Getty and street style blogs wearing them. “The basic premise is to encourage young people to become politically aware and involved,” Henderson told at the time. “There’s a lot going on in Australia that I don’t agree with. I was tired of the government making decisions on my behalf, and I just felt like I had to do this.”

But apparently the political activism movement, like crop-tops and normcore, is a movement that knows no geographical boundaries. Henderson is now taking the riot to the streets of NYC, finding stockists for the shirts in Nolita's B Space and Patricia Field’s Bowery boutique. She posted the evidencing Instagram shots last week, which included Field herself and two of the less Australian-specific political tag lines – “Riot Now” and “Reject Racism.” The “brand” even has its own Instagram account if you prefer to take your activism neat rather than interspersed with selfies.

While some of the shirts probably had to be left out of the latest printing process – including our personal favorite, “Keep Tassie’s Bush/I Keep Mine” – raising general awareness of more global issues can’t hurt. Our personal styling tip would be putting an “I Am a Feminist” design on each of your guy friends. 

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Cara Cheung Summer 2014 Collection Gets a Pop-Up Shop

No doubt that until now, you’ve had a tough time getting your hands on Canadian celebrity favourite designer Cara Cheung. Beloved by the likes of Keshia Chanté, Tanya Kim, Nadia Ali, CityTV’s Mary Kitchen and MuchMusic VJ Liz Trinnear, it’s our loss that she doesn’t have a fixed abode, but thankfully that’s about to change for the Toronto designer. For a brief week in June at least. 

Until June 8, Cara Cheung’s eveningwear and jewellery collection will be available at a pop-up store at 101 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, presented by jacflash. On sale will be a sampling of Cheung’s latest collection, which oh-so-appropriately brings us to that very lineup: her Spring/Summer 2014 offerings.

Cara Cheung spring/summer 2014 collection

Having debuted at this past Toronto Fashion Week, Cheung’s collection puts off a bad-gal vibe, mixing body hugging pencil skirts with midriff-baring tops. It makes for daring, sexy eveningwear for wild nights on the town as titillating cut-outs and bodycon fabrics show off tanned summer skin. The palette is black, white with neon blasts of lime that make bold statements for the ready-to-wear separates that beg for attention.

Cara Cheung spring/summer 2014 collection

My personal favourite is the more modest, long-line, thigh-split skirts, teamed with the little leather, embellished crop, but the beauty of Cheung’s pieces is that they be mixed and matched for your every debauched needs. Because that’s how we bad gals roll!

Iamges via Cara Cheung

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Nowness Celebrates CFDA Swarovski Emerging Talent Award Nominees With Video ‘Shakedown’

Forgot the nominees for tonight's CFDA awards? Nowness magazine wants to help you remember the designers up for one of the evening's biggest honors through a little song and dance. The magazine's put together a fashion film focusing on those designers up for this year's Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Tapping the talents of director Clara Cullen, the video "Shakedown" features the works of each nominee, modeled on dancers wearing oversized animal masks. It's kitschy, cool and a little strange, but it'll certainly help you remember which up-and-coming designers are up for the award.

Check out the video above and find out tonight which emerging designers take home the big prize.

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Jamie Dornan’s Interview Cover Gets Rave Reviews (Forum Buzz)

After landing a lead role in 2015's Fifty Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan is Interview's June/July 2014 cover star. The British model turned actor is photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for the cover and a range of 'raw' photos for inside the magazine.

Interview Magazine June July 2014 Jamie Dornan


A very elated Miss Dalloway is a fan and writes, "Yes, yes, yes! Not sure about him taking up the Fifty role, but it's nice seeing him get major mainstream spotlight. I enjoyed him immensely on his show The Fall, and was surprised how good he was. LOVE this shot, it looks like a vintage very private photo, and of course always appreciate when guys don't go all Ken Doll on me, some of us like body hair!"

"Wow, I'm very impressed. He's incredibly beautiful, so yes to that, but also for the cover itself. I'm sure this will be the first issue of Interview I buy in a long time," comments honeycombchild.

"Great cover! He's so ****ing hot," enthused Thefrenchy.

Wolkfolk also shared positive views: "Great cover and such an amazing editorial. Jamie is pure sex here. He's a good actor but he really is an amazing model. Mert & Marcus are really nailing those very sexy male shoots lately. I love it. Kudos to Interview once again. I can't wait to see who's featured in the Up & Coming Hollywood spread."

Are you a fan? Check out Jamie's accompanying cover story within the thread here.

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