Category Archives: Fashion

First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts 2010 National Design Awards Luncheon

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Bill Moggridge

First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Timothy Gunn during a luncheon honoring the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's National Design Award recipients in the East Room of the White House. July 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

What a thrill it was to participate in the White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday as she celebrated the 2010 National Design Awards honorees. The First Lady serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards and her commitment to arts and design based education made this a very special event. We are honored to once again receive the patronage of the First Lady, as her support does such a lot to advance awareness of the importance of design.

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The day began with a Teen Design Fair at the Smithsonian American Art Renwick Gallery, where DC high school students met one-on-one with leading designers in the fields of fashion, industrial design, architecture, multimedia and graphic design, including Jenna Lyons of J.Crew, Maira Kalman, Smart Design and Stephen Doyle. To close out the morning, an inspiring Q&A was held with Tim Gunn and Caroline Payson, Cooper-Hewitt’s Education Director, about the value of design education. Tim talked about how it took him time to find his design path and said that “there was no magic sauce to become a designer; it requires hard work and experience.”

Following the Teen Design Fair, the award winners and finalists attended a special luncheon at the White House, hosted by the First Lady. It was a very festive event and the setting reinforced the tremendous amount of design talent that exists in this country. Mrs. Obama’s speech emphasized the importance of design and arts education, and celebrated the value of the work of the award winners. Wayne Clough, the Secretary of the Smithsonian, introduced the National Design Award program and thanked the sponsors, and I showed slides of the winners and their work, naming both finalists and winners, you can see them here. I was lucky enough to sit next to the First Lady for lunch, so we talked about expanding the opportunities for high-schoolers to study design and develop their creative talents. Tim Gunn was sitting on her other side, so he was able to tell her a lot about learning the art of fashion design.

A great conversation piece at the table were ViewMasters (designed by 2008 Lifetime Achievement winner Charles Harrison) with slides of the award winners’ work. The mutual appreciation in the room among the designers was quite moving, especially when James Corner of Field Operations told Design Mind winner Ralph Caplan that his books had a huge impact on his work.

The Awards program was launched at the White House in 2000 as an official project of the White House Millennium Council, and the annual National Design Awards celebrate design in various disciplines as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world. The awards are Cooper-Hewitt’s most visible education program and always include a variety of special events, panel discussions and workshops.

The awards recognize extraordinary contributions to design in 10 categories: Lifetime Achievement, Design Mind, Corporate and Institutional Achievement, Architecture Design, Communication Design, Fashion Design, Interaction Design, Interior Design, Landscape Design and Product Design. The award recipients also will be honored at a gala dinner Oct. 14 in New York.

This fall, Cooper-Hewitt will continue celebrating the awards with National Design Week, which will take place Oct. 9-17, which aims to promote a better understanding of the role that design plays in all aspects of daily life. The museum will offer free admission to all visitors, courtesy of Target, and provide a range of online resources celebrating design throughout the week. Our website also features the year-round “Design Across America” map listing design-oriented events throughout the country. In addition to hosting a second Teen Design Fair in New York, our programs reach school teachers and their students nationally, in the classroom and online through Cooper-Hewitt’s Educator Resource Center. The site features more than 300 lesson plans aligned to national and state standards that demonstrate how the design process can enhance the teaching of all subjects and features discussion boards that provide a forum for educators to exchange ideas.

Bill Moggridge is Director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum

Remarks by the First Lady at Cooper Hewitt Design Awards Luncheon

Master plan for Grand Central Partnership B.I.D., New York, NY, 1986–95. Artist: Jane Thompson, Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award.


International Design Conference, Aspen, CO, 1967–2001. Artist: Ralph Caplan, Winner of the Design Mind Award.


Cellophane House, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, 2008. Artist: Kieran Timberlake, Winner of Architecture Design Award.


The High Line, section 1, New York, NY, 2009. Artist: James Corner, Winner of the Landscape Design Award


Machiavelli: The Discourses construction, 2007. Artist: Stephen Doyle, Winner of the Communications Design Award.


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Rima Fakih, Miss Michigan & Arab-American, Crowned 2010 Miss USA

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Miss Michigan Rima Fakih is crowned Miss USA 2010 Sunday, May 16, 2010 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

AP~ Lebanese immigrant Rima Fakih says it was a certain look from Donald Trump that tipped her off that she had won the 2010 Miss USA title.

The 24-year-old Miss Michigan beat out 50 other women to take the title Sunday night, despite nearly stumbling in her evening gown.

She told reporters later that she believed she had won after glancing at pageant owner Trump as she awaited the results with the first runner-up, Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard.

“That’s the same look that he gives them when he says, ‘You’re hired,'” on Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” she said.

“She’s a great girl,” said Trump, who owns the pageant with NBC in a joint venture.

Fakih took top honors at the pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip after strutting confidently in an orange and gold bikini, wearing a strapless white gown that resembled a wedding dress and saying health insurance should cover birth control pills.

Fakih, an Arab-American from Dearborn, Mich., told pageant organizers her family celebrates both Muslim and Christian faiths. She moved to the United States as a baby and was raised in New York, where she attended a Catholic school. Her family moved to Michigan in 2003.

Pageant officials said historical pageant records were not detailed enough to show whether Fakih was the first Arab American, Muslim or immigrant to win the Miss USA title. The pageant started in 1952 as a local bathing suit competition in Long Beach, Calif.

Fakih told reporters she sold her car after graduating college in Michigan to help pay for her run in the Miss Michigan USA pageant.

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the 2010 White House Correspondents Dinner, Hosted by Jay Leno

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The White House Correspondents’ Dinner Red Carpet

The 2010 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner brought politicos, reporters and celebrities to the red carpet…and the sartorial theme of the night also seemed to be red! First Lady Michelle Obama led the way in a magnificent gown by up-and-coming designer Prabal Gurung, and also spotted sporting the hue of the evening were Mariska Hargitay, Katie Couric, Kathie Lee Gifford and Gayle King.

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President Obama Trades Jokes with Jay Leno

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C. May 1, 2010. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

President Obama made his second appearance at the annual White House Press and Scholarship Dinner last night in Washington, D.C. He took the dais before the headliner Jay Leno, remarking, “I’m also glad to be speaking first. We’ve all seen what happens to the person in the time slot after Leno.”

But Leno was far from the only subject of the President’s jokes. Senators, Members of Congress and his own Administration were all fair game. Of the recently passed health reform legislation, he noted:

“You might have heard we passed a health care bill. And some Republicans have suggested that the bill contains a few “secret” provisions. That’s ridiculous. There aren’t a few secret provisions in the health care plan. There are like hundreds. And tonight, in the interest of transparency, I’d like to share a couple. Let’s see here. This provision is called the “Bay State of Denial.” It reads, “This bill shall cover short-term memory loss related to the passage of Massachusetts health care reform.” Good news, Mitt, your condition is covered! This next provision is called the “Jersey Shore-Up.” It reads, “The following individuals shall be excluded from the indoor tanning tax within this bill: Snooki, J-Woww, the Situation, and House Minority Leader John Boehner.” This provision ought to put a common misconception to rest. It says right here: “If you do not like the ruling of your death panel, you can appeal it.”

He concluded his remarks before Leno took the stage with a reminder of the necessary role of the fourth estate:

“Some of you are seasoned veterans who have been on the political beat for decades. Others here tonight began their careers as bloggers not long ago. But I think it’s fair to say that every single reporter in this room believes deeply in the enterprise of journalism. Every one of you, even the most cynical among you, understands and cherishes the function of a free press in the preservation of our system of government and our way of life. And I want you to know that for all the jokes and occasional gripes, I cherish that work as well. In fact, tonight, I wanted to present you all with a bipartisan, Congressional resolution that honors all those wonderful contributions that journalists have made to our country and our world. Unfortunately, I couldn’t break the filibuster.”

Full Transcript of the Remarks

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The Vanity Fair/Bloomberg White House Correspondents’ Dinner After-Party


Vanity Fair/Michael Hogan~Despite news of a sobering scare in Times Square and an unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the power elites of Washington, New York, and Hollywood managed to squeeze in an evening of revelry in the nation’s capital. The party, hosted by Vanity Fair and Bloomberg, was held at the French ambassador’s sprawling residence, just blocks from the Washington Hilton, where the White House Correspondents’ Dinner took place earlier in the evening.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly were not on hand, having flown back to Manhattan after a car full of explosives was discovered in Times Square, but there were plenty of other power brokers available to fill the vacuum. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and senior adviser David Axelrod exerted their magnetic pull on “powerstruck” partygoers (to use a phrase coined during the party by guest Ryan Seacrest), while News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and Google C.E.O. Eric Schmidt served as human reminders that clout comes in colors other than red and blue.

The mood had changed since last year, when the Obama administration’s newly minted stars easily outshone the Hollywood imports. After a year of bruising battles, Rahm, Axe, Orszag, and co. looked a bit paler in comparison with the impressive array of movie stars (Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Anna Kendrick, Rosario Dawson, Bradley Cooper, Gabourey Sidibe, Zach Galifianakis, Jeremy Renner, Michael Douglas, Ashley Judd, Jessica Alba), TV actors (Chace Crawford, Adrian Grenier, Chelsea Handler, Jimmy Fallon, Matthew Morrison, and The Wire’s Dominic West, Michael K. Williams, Sonja Sohn), directors (Kathryn Bigelow, J.J. Abrams), athletes (Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo), designers (Donatella Versace, Jason Wu), and musicians (Jon Bon Jovi, the Jonas Brothers, John Cougar Mellencamp, T-Bone Burnett).

Sex in the City actresses Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis

Still, this being Washington, there was a central role for political figures and the people who cover them. Senator Chris Dodd, the chief sponsor of the financial-reform bill now making its way through the upper chamber of Congress, chatted with Murdoch while Larry Summers, Colin Powell, Eric Holder, Jane Harman, Richard Holbrooke, and Austan Goolsbee circulated nearby. (Congressman John Dingell, the Dean of the House, parked his 83-year-old frame on a couch and let the people come to him.) Luke Russert of NBC News made nice with the movie people and GQ Washington correspondent Ana Marie Cox squired musician Rhett Miller around the porch, but most of the political press corps seemed content to stick to their beat. Politico savant Mike Allen collected tidbits from the parties he’d somehow missed, ABC News political director David Chalian congratulated Axelrod assistant Eric Lesser on a flatteringNew York Times Magazine profile, and Jon Meacham, Maureen Dowd, David Gregory, Katie Couric, Walter Isaacson, and Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn mingled with V.F.’s Christopher Hitchens, Dee Dee Myers, Todd S. Purdum, Maureen Orth, Bob Colacello, Cullen Murphy, and Graydon and Anna Carter.

More than one guest was overheard to remark on the French ambassador’s enviable living conditions. The generously apportioned rooms, hung with portraits of bygone aristocrats, were luxurious enough, but the spacious grounds took things to another level. It was warm enough to spend the whole night outdoors, in the shadow of tall trees that were lit up for the occasion in shifting patterns of orange, green, and pre-dawn blue. Those most determined to see and be seen clustered on the main terrace, but others gravitated to less crowded spaces. Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann set up camp on the stairs leading down to the pool, drawing in any funny people who happened to pass by. The veterans of The Wire, meanwhile, hung together on a side balcony, posing for group snapshots with grateful fans.

At 3 a.m., a crowd of about 100 partygoers remained, reluctant to call it a night. A host of intractable problems awaited them back in the real world, but for the moment it was enough to worry how they might wrangle one last drink.

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First Lady Michelle Obama is Now Officially a Fashion Plate

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NYT/Eric Wilson~Not that there were any doubts before, mind you. Often called the First Lady of Fashion, Mrs. Obama has a sense of style, as we all know by now, that rivals Jackie Kennedy’s. She has boosted the spirits of the American fashion industry with her unconventional mix of avant-garde newcomers and off-the-rack Talbots, and claimed a Council of Fashion Designers of America style-icon award along the way.

Still, nothing quite says you’ve made it like an actual plate bearing your image. (Mrs. Kennedy had more than her share, not to mention salt shakers and creamers, but those came much later.)

Last week, advertisements began appearing in magazines like Entertainment Weekly offering a $39.99 porcelain commemorative plate from the Bradford Exchange. It shows Mrs. Obama in her Jason Wu white inaugural gown. “Richly edged in platinum and over 100 hand-set faux jewels,” Bradford says in its ads. It is the first in a series of plates featuring Mrs. Obama’s fashion choices that the company plans to issue, said Suzanne Magnuson, a product manager. Next up: the black sequined Peter Soronen gown from the National Governors Association gala!

“It is only partially due to the amazing fashion choices she has made, but also because people find her inspirational and also accessible,” Ms. Magnuson said. “She’s a real person they can admire.”

And even eat off. There will be at least four plates in the series, enough for a small dinner party.

Not to be outdone, the Danbury Mint, a competitor in the collectibles market, is offering a $34.95 plate with a montage of six outfits, including the Wu, the Soronen, an Isabel Toledo and that glittery red and black Narciso Rodriguez from election night. Available May 20, it declares Mrs. Obama to be the First Lady of Elegance.

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President Obama and First Lady Michelle Host France’s President Sarkozy and First Lady Carla at the White House

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President Barack Obama meets with President Nicolas Sarkozy of France in the Oval Office, March 30, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France spoke to the media after meeting at the White House.

France’s first couple visited Columbia University and the Alliance Francaise and dropped in on Julliard School of Music students. The first lady is a musician herself; her last album “Comme si de rien n’était” was released in July 2008. Scroll down for a video of her singing the song “Quelqu’un m’a dit.”

Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy also visited Washington’s Kipp DC charter school (Knowledge is Power Program). The kids were over the moon at their visitor and her entourage of bodyguards. They greeted her carrying French flags and sang to her, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She read them a Madeline book from the series about a girl living in France — read it in English, which the Italian-born French first lady speaks fluently.

The Sarkozy’s gift to the Obama family was some Asterix comic books for the Obama daughters, Sasha and Malia. According to The Examiner, the French president and his wife decided to do what regular people do. They stopped by local DC landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl and got a half smoke for lunch.

In the evening President Obama and First Lady Michelle hosted a private dinner (closed to the press) for President Sarkozy and Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy. (hoping to have a photo soon…)

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First Lady Michelle Obama Announces First Solo Trip to Mexico

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First Lady Michelle Obama greets Mrs. Margarita Zavala de Calderon, the First Lady of Mexico, in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

The First Lady plans to take her first solo trip to Mexico, where she’ll spend time with Mexico’s First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon. The two women recently talked during a official visit to the White House on February 25, 2010. During the visit, the first ladies discussed obesity, diabetes, addictions and the situation of undocumented Mexican minors in the United States. They stressed the links between the United States and Mexico and pledged to work on those issues.

The East Wing of the White House released the following information:

“In recognition of the deep ties between the United States and Mexico, First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Mexico City, Mexico, April 13-15, on her first solo official trip as First Lady. Mrs. Obama’s international agenda will amplify the President’s commitment to advancing mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual responsibility between nations and peoples around the world. During this visit, Mrs. Obama will have the opportunity to engage the citizens of Mexico, particularly young people, and build on her recent conversation with Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala de Calderon on the issues of education and economic advancement in both countries.”

President Barack Obama (R) greets Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (2R) as U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (2L) greets Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala at the Phipps Conservatory for the G-20 Summit on September 24, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. President Obama met the world leaders and spouses this evening to kick off the two-day G-20 summit held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center aimed at promoting economic growth.(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images North America)

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First Lady Michelle Obama Meets Haiti’s First Lady Elizabeth Préval

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First Lady Michelle Obama talks with Mrs. Elizabeth Préval, the First Lady of Haiti, March 10, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

On March 10, 2010 First Lady Michelle Obama met with Haiti’s First Lady Elizabeth Préval in the Yellow Room of the White House. Mrs. Préval is a Haitian businesswoman, presidential economic adviser and economist. She has been the First Lady of Haiti since December 6, 2009, when she married President René Préval.

President Obama and Haitian President René Préval spoke to the press after meeting at the White House and reaffirming their mutual commitment to rebuilding Haiti after January’s devastating earthquake.

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