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My-Cherie

My-Cherie

Now that President-elect Barack Obama will be taking over the White House, we have a new fashion plate in America — Michelle Obama. Many top designers vie for her attention, especially for the inaugural balls on January 20, 2009.

Women’s Wear Daily commissioned top designers to “dress” Michelle Obama in her role as First Lady. Many of these top designers created beautiful dresses for her, but I think they forgot that she was black and weighed a little more than 100 lbs. Surprised? I’m not. I can get over the fact that many designers sketched her extremely paper thin, but I can’t get over them not adding color to her skin. I mean she is black, right? I know it’s hard for many to believe that we will actually have an African-American family in the White House in less than one month, but it’s a fact. So why would top designers like Marc Jacobs and Rodarte spend all this time sketching elaborate designs for our future First Lady, but not take into consideration the color of her skin? What were they thinking? Hello! She is dark brown, not albino.

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The clothes that you wear should be based on the color of your skin and your body type. You are not going to wear something that doesn’t look right on your skin tone. Your skin color, make-up, body and hairdo can make or break an outfit. Everyone in the fashion industry knows that. You don’t even have to be in fashion to know. It’s common sense.

Debra Dickerson of Mother Jones magazine boldly comments on the drawings: “I get that these drawings are stylizations, but to design for someone individually sorta requires you to deal with their skin tone, right? Would they drape a 'winter' in 'summer' colors? Are these artists 'helping' her by making her whiter (and thus 'capable' of beauty) or are they so squeamish in imagining a sister in couture that they have to whitewash her to make her 'worthy' of high fashion?”

These are truly legitimate questions that have yet to be answered. The fashion industry is practically my life right now, but sometimes I have no idea why people do the things that they do. I do know one thing. The last time I checked, black was beautiful, and that was about 10 seconds ago when I looked in the mirror.

Honestly, I can’t be mad.

Tickets to the inauguration were a birthday present from my man to me that I will be grateful for eternally. This is a historical landmark of my generation in our nation, and I get to be a part of it. What better way to kick off the New Year than celebrating the inauguration of our first black president!


P.S: I can’t wait to see what Michelle will wear to the Inaugural Ball. I hope she goes with Christian Lacroix or Betsey Johnson, since they were about the only designers that got it right. Yes, Michelle Obama is Black.


Email your questions/comments to My-Cherie.

0 Comments
I couldn't agree with you more! :afro: :D
some of those dresses are not cute! i love the moniquel huiller dress for michelle obama. i do think the sketches could have looked like they were for her and not some random woman so a little color is a nice touch. good article! yeah michelle obama, she looks great in her inauguration yellow. i expect nothing less for the balls.
i think this is a slight over reaction. i'll admit that 2 of the drawings do make her look white but the others don't look like anyone. alot of designers don't draw faces or add skin color to any of their sketches. i'm not white myself but i've seen them around :) and i've never seen any that were truly white like the paper the sketches are drawn on. its just a sketch. when the designer meets the person they make adjustments for their body shape and skintone. i LOVE the Monique Lhuillier dress.
Well actually, Michiko Bell, I don't know what color you are, but I have dark skin, and if I mix in the wrong color, it is completely wrong. The idea is we want to look good. The lovely Michelle is already a beauty, and we want to enhance it not just slap any old color on her. I mean why would a pale caucasian person with blotchy red skin wear anything that would bring out those things, so why would we wear anything that makes us look flat out crazy? Look at the sketches again. I could imagine her in the 2 that actually took her color into consideration, because, lets face it, they didn't draw it for anybody else but HER. Why would you draw a stick-thin figure with no color for somebody that is completely opposite? and yes, if you haven't figured it out, I am black. ; )
"The clothes that you wear should be based on the color of your skin and your body type." I disagree...anyone can wear whatever colors they want. I understand that certain skin tones look better in certain colors but it shouldn't "make or break" an outfit. That's the most retrded rule I've ever heard.
I don't think that the sketches are sufficient evidence that the designers are ignoring her skin tone or neglecting it. The paper is white, if they pay no attention to the sketch of the actual model (not the dress)...then it stays white, doesn't it? And they do pay little attention, the model is only embellished enough so that the dress isn't floating in oblivion. I agree with an earlier comment, if the designer or Michelle or SOMEONE in that circle saw that the cut/color of the dress wasn't flattering, it would be fixed. These designers haven't become superstars or ridiculously rich because they don't know what they're doing.
Michele Obama, poised, eloquent, magestic, stunning, breathtaking and intelligent, will be wearing the dress on inauguration night, and not vice versa. Wouldn´t it be interesting if she donned African cloth? Thank you, Cherie, for the exposing designer branch´s subtle unpreparedness for the reality at hand. However, thank you Betsey Johnson and Christian Lacroix for offering justice. Black is beautiful!
Brava My Cherie for “going there.” The designers knew they were designing specifically for a black woman so why not take her skin tone and her particular body shape into consideration? Body shape and skin tone does make a difference in the types of designs and colors that would work for our future First Lady. So what was the point in sticking to a sketch of a model with white or “blank” skin? Yes, it is that deep. I’m only slightly removed from the generation of black women who looked almost cartoonish if we wanted to enhance our looks by applying makeup and wearing pantyhose. When I was coming of age, manufacturers of such products rarely took our darker hues into consideration. That left us walking around with pasty faces and ashy looking legs. And don’t get me started on the “flesh tone” band aids. The last time I saw band aids that were truly the flesh tone of dark skinned people were when they were briefly manufactured during the “black consciousness” era of decades past. It’s time for the fashion designers to start using more common sense and think more inclusively. And it’s time for more people like My Cherie to unapologetically raise a little awareness “up in here!” Mosetta
I hear what you're saying. I always made it a point to have/use dark brown marker when I presented my sketches to my instructor. In this case, I wouldn't hold it against the designer; its just an idea to start from and you work from there. I am this is becoming nit-picking! I'm a black hispanic btw.
I don't think they forgot she was black. The purpose of fashion sketches is to sell the design of the garment. Skin tone matching, and how the piece will hang per body type isn't worked out on paper. It has to be worked out as the garment is being made/fitted. You can' t really match garment color and skin tone without seeing them side-by-side. As far as the body type of a black woman, and that of Michelle Obama's verses what's represented in the sketches. It's just a common/standard industry wide to sketch and fit for waif figures. And body type is not race or phenotype specific. Also, each fashion designer has a signature illustration style that they sketch in. It sets them apart, it helps sell their concept. It's the same for any artist from music to painting. Again, the primary agenda her is to sell the fashion design - people should keep that in mind.
Well....I gues I see what you mean, with Suwannagate. For others, like Rodante and Huiller, I think its just stylization. Ive noticed that some of the more professional fashion sketches (imho, i have no experience) tend to have abstract, faceless models that are just there as something to give the clothing shape. Yes, I'm black.
you know, at the end of the day, all of the designers want her to debut their gowns. and believe me; i don't think any one has forgotten or will ever forget that they are black... now having dabbled in the fashion industry for a few years, i agree that they are displaying an idea, the designers need mrs. obama to envision herself in their gowns. and besides, they are just sketches, because whatever gown she has chosen, if she didn't particularly care for the color/shade, i am definite the designer changed it
I agree a bit with the "its not that deep comment", but it would make more sense, since essentially this is almost like the designer is being commissioned to create a dress for a specific person, to take all specifics in consideration such as skin tone & shape.. this is a huuuge occassion & everyone just wants her to be on point.
it's not that deep
I can agree with what the author of this piece is saying...a dress can be HOT, but if it doesn't take into account your specific shape, skin tone, or hair style, then it can be a TOTAL FLOP. These designers are not just trying to sell a dress to a buyer for a department store, they are trying to sell the dress to ONE woman...a BLACK woman...and I think that the drawings should reflect that.
I'd say Betsey Johnson, but I don't like her clothes. She tends to be little a little out there. I hope Oscar de la Renta or Carolina Herrera wins. They're clothes are much more elegant.
Oops forgot to say that I'm not African American, but I am black. Thanks for the blog!
I don't think they forgot she was black. At the end of the day it'll be up to Michelle Obama. If somebody "forgot" I'm sure they'll be reminded when they get the "thanks but no thanks letter" in the mail.
I don't think they "forgot" she was black. When you're making a sketch of clothes, you do draw a quick sketch of a human model but the main focus is on the dress, NOT the human model (notice how they rarely have facial detail like eyes, nose and lips)which is why the dress is usually the only thing with color and detail. The model is just a blank figure that the dress sits on. Adding detail to the model would take away from the dress, which is what you're trying to sell. Sell the dress, not the model. ~I'm African-Amercan btw

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