Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy (BOOK REVIEW)

Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy

By Mary Tomer

Center Street/Hachette Book Group

Hardcover, $25.99

248 pages

ISBN: 978-1-599-95258-1




Book Review by Kam Williams


 “Celebrated for her style and substance, Michelle Obama has transformed the role of First Lady and become a 21st Century icon, attracting attention from all over the world. The qualities so admired in her—intelligence, strength and charisma—radiate through her personal style, which has united accessibility with high-wattage glamour.

The clothes, like the women, feel both familiar and inspirational. Readily mixing high-end labels with more affordable brands, with a focus on craftsmanship and artistry, Mrs. O has elevated the notion of real value and ushered in a new era of fashion democracy.”

-Excerpted from the Flyleaf.


Do you remember the stunning red and black dress designed by Narciso Rodriguez that Michelle Obama wore in Grant Park on Election Night? Or the tasteful Jason Wu gown she donned to danced with her husband at the Inaugural Balls? Or how about the bright-colored J.Crew coats which kept daughters Sasha and Malia warm while watching mommy hold the Bible while their father took the oath of office?

                Of course you do! Photos of those three iconic events are just a few of the dozens of historic moments preserved for posterity in Mrs. O: The Face of Fashion Democracy. As the title suggests, the book is far more than a collection of snapshots from the campaign, for it focuses on the new First Lady and her family from a fashion point-of-view. Not only does this delightful coffee table tome present Michelle in all of her sartorial splendor, but it also devotes space to interviews with the designers of many of her outfits and accessories.

For example, author Mary Tomer interviews Thakoon Panichgul, the Thai-born creator of Mrs. O’s rose-printed reverse kimono from the final night of the Democratic National Convention. When asked whether Michelle is now America’s style icon, it is not surprising that he answers in the affirmative. Anybody looking for controversy ought to look elsewhere, as this opus, at heart, is a gushy lovefest.

Among the luminaries weighing-in is Andre’ Leon Talley, Vogue Magazine’s Editor-at-Large, who rolls out a string of superlatives stating that Michelle “has redefined what it means to be a First Lady… She has changed and shifted the paradigm of what elegance and beauty are… I like what she stands for: you can be a woman, a good wife, and a modern mother. She has her own identity… She is the most capable woman in the world.”

And an inspiration and graceful role model who is likely to have a profound effect on impressionable young minds for generations to come.

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