First lady Michelle Obama wore a sparkling yellow sheath dress with matching coat by Cuban-born American designer Isabel Toledo for the inauguration of her husband, a choice many applauded as a cheerful message of hope and a vote for the American fashion industry.
In some light, the embellished ensemble took on a pale-greenish cast, coordinating nicely with green gloves from J. Crew and Jimmy Choo green patent pumps.
President Barack Obama wore a red tie and white shirt with his suit, topped with an overcoat adorned with an American flag pin.
Their daughters were style icons in their own right, with 10-year-old Malia in a double-breasted periwinkle-blue coat with a blue-ribbon bow at the waist, and Sasha, 7, in a pink coat with orange scarf and satin belt, a coral-colored dress peeking out at the hem. Their coats were from Crewcuts by J. Crew.
The fashion industry has eagerly looked to the election of Obama for months, embracing his wife as an emblem and ambassador of modern style, who wears clothes from young designers as well as mainstream American retailers.
Toledo designed the outfit with hopes Obama would choose it for the ceremony, though Toledo did not know for certain until Tuesday morning. She said she chose the “lemongrass” color for the optimism it represents.
“I didn’t want a traditional blue or red,” Toledo said. “That color has sunshine in it. I fell in love with it. So did she.”
The unusual shade of yellow “really popped” on Michelle Obama’s complexion, said fashion designer Kai Milla, wife of Stevie Wonder and an invited guest to the swearing-in ceremony.
Hamish Bowles, Vogue magazine’s European editor at large who curated the Metropolitan Museum Costume Insitute exhibit on Jackie Kennedy in 2001, said he sees a resemblance in the inaugural styles between the two first ladies. “She’s off to an auspicious start,” Bowles said of Obama.
“Mrs. Obama’s choice (of clothing for the inaugural ceremony) … was appropriate, dignified and elegant, but it also had a considerable element of fashion panache,” said Hamish Bowles, Vogue magazine’s European editor at large.