Michelle Obama 'criticised and praised' for her dress on election night

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New York, Nov 6 : US President-elect Barrack Obama's wife, Michelle, was criticised as well as praised for the dress she wore on election night.

She was wearing a red-and-black sheath by Narciso Rodriguez when she took to the stage at Grant Park in Chicago on November 4.

While some said that her dress was an eye-catching statement, others called it an eyesore.

"I voted for Obama, but I didn't vote for that dress," the New York Times quoted Jessica Bettencourt, a homemaker and mother of three in Mequon, Wisc., as saying.

Bettencourt was not the only one who thought that Michelle had exhibited a rare lapse in taste, for a Chicago-based lawyer named Karla Wright was also of the same opinion.

"I don't know what was worse, that stupid criss-cross band around the middle or that black sort of border coming up from the hem,'' Wright said.

The dress, which was black with a splash of red from the bust through the hips, had two corset-like bands of black intersecting at the waist, and the addition of a black cardigan sweater did nothing to subdue the look.

The sweater seemed to throw off the dress's proportions and obliterate its lines, detractors said.

Jeff Weinstein, a fine arts and culture critic who writes on the Web, was among many who found the speckled red pattern distracting.

"It was definitely a lava lamp look,'' he said, "with a volcanic nod to her hubby's Hawaii," he stated.

But Michelle's decision to wear an American designer frock was met with approval from insiders in the fashion world, who said that the dress showed her individuality.

"That dress was unpretentious," said Julie Gilhart, the fashion director of Barneys New York.

"It said, 'Be who you are - don't let someone else tell you how to be'," she added.

Michelle's staff revealed that she did not use a personal stylist, and her style also showed that she did not prefer the starchy attire that first ladies historically favoured.

"Ms. Obama is not sitting around going through fashion look books and having confabs," said Andre Leon Talley, the editor at large for Vogue.

"She is just going through her closet and picking out what's right for her," he added.

ANI

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