Women’s Wear Daily
04.18.2014
fashion-features
fashion-features

First Lady Wears Thom Browne to Swearing-In Ceremony

The First Lady wore a Thom Browne ensemble with J. Crew shoes for church services.

By
with contributions from Kristi Ellis, Jean E. Palmieri
fashion-features/news
Michelle Obama wears Thom Browne

The daytime ensembles for First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha covered a wide range of design. The First Lady wore a Thom Browne ensemble for church services and the swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol this morning, while Malia wore a J. Crew outfit and Sasha wore a Kate Spade coat and dress, according to a White House official.

President Barack Obama went shopping in his closet for this morning's swearing-in ceremony, wearing the same Brooks Bros. cashmere coat he wore four years ago to take the oath.

Reached in Paris Monday, Browne said a flurry of emails from friends made him turn on CNN in his hotel room to see that the First Lady was in fact wearing his navy silk jacquard dress and suit. “It’s amazing and one of the most humbling moments, when you know she had so much to choose from. Words cannot describe it.”

The First Lady also chose a necklace designed by Cathy Waterman, quoting a White House official, and a cardigan by Reed Krakoff, the designer whose blue dress she wore to the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room at the White House on Sunday.

Browne and his team (including his longtime p.r. Miki Higasa) will be tuning in to watch the swearing-in ceremony outside the Capitol, and they will break open some Champagne.

The designer, who launched a signature men’s line in 2003 and a women’s line in 2010, designed women’s versions of his men’s looks from the beginning. The men’s tie silk jacquard for the First Lady’s ensemble was something he initially developed for the collection he showed in Paris on Sunday. With a clear idea of what Michelle Obama likes, Browne thought the strong color and the fabric’s structure would convey the strength, style and confidence she embodies. He also took into account the likelihood that the President would be wearing a navy suit, which of course he was.

Browne, the 2012 National Design Award winner for fashion, met the First Lady at the White House reception she hosted last summer for all of the honorees. “Since then, she has been really supportive, requesting things for certain events. It is such another level [trying] to get something perfect so that she feels really great, comfortable, confident and fashionable,” he said. “She is such an amazingly strong woman who looks good in everything she wears.”

“She knows what she likes and that’s what I aspire to — [to dress] someone who what she wants but she makes it her own,” Browne said. “You can tell when she puts clothing on. It’s for her.”

With his men’s fall show said and done in Paris and Mrs. Obama’s inaugural outfit squared away in D.C., Browne’s next assignment will be to fly back to New York Tuesday to get back to work.

Michelle also added a J Crew belt. No one was more excited than J. Crew's Mickey Drexler to see Michelle Obama customize her Thom Browne ensemble with a black beaded belt. That exuberance was only doubled by the fact Malia Obama wore J. Crew head-to-toe at today's swearing-in ceremony. "There have been lots of exclamation points and emails all in big giant block letters," said creative director Jenna Lyons.

The First Family didn't phone in any favors from the company. "As far as we know, they literally ordered online and they shop like anyone else in America."

The First Lady added the belt to her Thom Browne outfit after the church and prayer service in time for the ceremonial swearing-in outside the Capitol. She also changed her J. Crew shoes to Reed Krakoff boots, the same custom black boots she wore the day before. She exchanged her necklace for earrings by the same designer — Cathy Waterman — also after the prayer service.

Her 14-year-old daughter wore a doublefront fresh plum colored coat with a deep burgundy circle scarf, teal leather gloves and a blue dress all from J. Crew. Lyons was just as eager as everyone else to see which dress the elder First Daughter is wearing. "The White House confirmed it's ours but I only saw a flash of electric blue under her coat," she said.

As for the belt, Lyons said, "I love that she dresses in a way that says, 'This is the way I want to be.' I think it looks great — I hope Thom is alright with it."

The Martin Luther King Day holiday will allow Lyons to catch every last second. "I will be glued to the TV all day," Lyons said. "It's great that it's a holiday. Last time we couldn't watch as much."

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