Fashion-Unfriendly: Washington Has No Fashion (Common) Sense

August 16, 2011


Michelle Obama’s team confirmed the sad truth: Washington has no fashion sense. In the past, Mrs. Obama has hosted a luncheon for the National Design Awards, which honor both architectural and fashion designers, in July. For 2011, the White House moved the event to Sept. 13, which falls during New York Fashion Week.

This year’s fashion design winner, Gilles Mendel, moved the date of his runway show so he could attend. Finalists Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu both declined their invitations due to the conflict.

The White House wouldn’t host a party celebrating actors on Oscar night. So why honor designers when they’re tied to the catwalks?

Fashion Week is a designer’s election season. It’s a hefty investment, with shows costing about $300,000 to stage. It may seem glamorous, but it’s really a hellish biannual week of networking and sales that can make a designer’s career.

For an administration trumpeting job creation, why slight a $300 billion industry by honoring designers during their busiest week? The East Wing should renew its Vogue subscription. Mrs. Obama is more stylish than this.

Photo by Getty Images

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.
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