The best and worst of 2009: Fashion moments

By Robin Givhan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 20, 2009


1. The fall '09 Comme des Garçons collection is a poetic exploration of the beauty that can be found even in sorrow. White House social secretary Desirée Rogers wears a gown from this collection to the Obamas' first state dinner. Sure, it was a political miscalculation, but it was a bold fashion move worth applauding.

2. First lady Michelle Obama's strapless, silver-sequined state-dinner evening gown by Naeem Khan is pure razzle-dazzle and politically correct, too. The dinner celebrated India's prime minister; the dress's designer was born there.

3. Designer Isabel Toledo transforms from a fashion insider's secret weapon into a name for the history books, thanks to the lemon-grass yellow inauguration day dress and coat she created for the first lady.

4. J. Crew and its creative director, Jenna Lyons, show the world modestly priced fashion that's good enough for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.

5. Director R.J. Cutler debuts "The September Issue," the most revealing behind-the-scenes look at Vogue and its editor, Anna Wintour, that has ever been accomplished.

6. All eyes turn to Chicago fashion and retailer Ikram Goldman, the first lady's wardrobe adviser who keeps one eye on her client's personal style and the other on the history books. In your face, New York!

7. Susan Boyle gets a makeover and a record deal. Boyle looks like herself, only better.

8. The Council of Fashion Designers of America gives Michelle Obama a special award for turning the international spotlight on Seventh Avenue.

9. Prada's spring 2010 show makes Lucite heels sexy and classy.

10. Zac Posen's spring 2010 collection is glamorous and restrained, with its candy colors and refined lines. Seventh Avenue's wunderkind finally grows up.


1. Michelle Obama wears thigh-skimming, athletic shorts to visit the Grand Canyon while on vacation with her family. The image of her stepping off Air Force One dressed to rappel down a cliff was disrespectful to the title "first lady."

2. Desirée Rogers takes New York Fashion Week and the glossy magazines by storm, thus violating the golden rule of Washington staffers: Never upstage the boss.

3. Washington handlers suck the personality out of Sonia Sotomayor's wardrobe during her confirmation hearings to be a Supreme Court justice. Enforcing a dress code of forgettable suits, they even removed her red nail polish.

4. Miss California USA epitomizes all the reasons beauty queens should just stick to professing their support for world peace. When you stoop to calling Larry King inappropriate on his own show, you know it's time to just shut your trap.

5. Michaele and Tareq Salahi leave a trail of unpaid bills for salon services and a wedding gown. Even the Patek Philippe watch they offered up to settle a debt was a fake.

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