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Michelle Obama and Anna Wintour’s Mutual Admiration Society

Michelle Obama’s trip to New York City Monday to open up the Metropolitan Museum’s $40 million Anna Wintour Costume Center marked the zenith in the first lady’s long relationship with Vogue magazine’s top editor.

The fashion-conscious first lady joined the industry’s elite to honor Anna Wintour, who has been editor-in-chief of the fashion bible since 1988. Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Donatella Versace, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Victoria Beckham, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren were also on hand.

“I know that Anna hates being the center of attention, so this all is probably killing her — but we love it,” Obama said before cutting the ribbon at the center. “The truth is, I’m here today because of Anna. I’m here because I have such respect and admiration for this woman who I am proud to call my friend.  And I’m here because I am so impressed by Anna’s contributions not just to the fashion industry, but to the many causes she shares and cares about.”


Obama, who has become a muse for the fashion world and spent time developing her style, wore a forest-green silk organza dress with three-quarter sleeves for the occasion, designed by Naeem Khan, the Associated Press reported. The first lady hugged Wintour, whose magazine has documented Obama’s rise as a force in the fashion industry. The two women have a relationship that stretches back to the earliest day’s of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Here are a few of the highlights.

September 2007: Rebecca Johnson writes a Vogue profile of Michelle Obama, dubbing the future first lady “The Natural.” Obama is photographed by Annie Leibovitz. (Trivia: Michelle Obama was first in Vogue in 2005, the year that she attended Oprah Winfrey’s “legends ball,” where she danced with Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley.)

April 2008: Vogue tracks Obama down on the campaign trail to name her the magazine’s “It Girl” of the month.

September 2008: Vogue notes that Obama wore a plaid Gap sundress for a Butte, Montana campaign event.

January 2009: Vogue profiles the Obama family.

March 2009: Michelle Obama poses for the cover of Vogue. The story is headlined: “Michelle Obama: The First Lady the World’s Been Waiting For.” “I love clothes,” the first lady told Talley. “First and foremost, I wear what I love. That’s what women have to focus on: what makes them happy and what makes them feel comfortable and beautiful. If I can have any impact, I want women to feel good about themselves and have fun with fashion.”

January 2010: Vogue names Obama to a list of the decade’s best dressed women.

June 2012: Anna Wintour hosts a fundraising dinner for the Obama campaign, attended by the president and first lady. “It will be a fabulous night,” Wintour promised in a video promoting the fundraiser on the campaign’s website. Wintour also held dinner fundraisers with fashion luminaries, including a “Paris Fashion Week Reception with Anna Wintour“; it cost $2,500 a ticket to attend a reception and $10,000 for a seat at the dinner. She was one of the president’s biggest fundraisers in the 2012 campaign cycle.

December 2012: Rumors circulate that Wintour is President Obama’s pick for ambassador to the United Kingdom or France. The rumors prove false.

April 2013: Michelle Obama appears again on the cover of Vogue, and comments on her husband’s fashion disinterest: “The girls and I are always rooting when he wears, like, a stripe. They’re like, ‘Dad! Oh, you look so handsome. Oh, stripes! You go!'”

May 2014: Michelle Obama announces she is working with Wintour to bring a fashion workshop to the White House. “The idea is to show young people what it takes to succeed, and how important it is for them to commit to their education,” Obama said.  “You see, Anna understands that those of us who have been blessed with opportunities to succeed have an obligation to reach back and bring others along with us –- and not just with words of praise, but with meaningful, sustained support.”

Krissah Thompson began writing for The Washington Post in 2001. She has been a business reporter, covered presidential campaigns and written about civil rights and race. More recently, she has covered the first lady's office, politics and culture.



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