The Alexander McQueen gown Michelle Obama wore to the state dinner for Chinese president Hu Jintao this week was one of her most stunning dresses since her husband took office on a few levels. It was notably designed not by a Chinese or Chinese American designer, but a British house, paying homage to China with its vibrant red hue. The dress was an altered version of a look from Sarah Burton’s first full collection for Alexander McQueen, resort 2011, with an asymmetrical neckline instead of puffy sleeves. The first lady could have worn something by Jason Wu, one of her favorite designers, who is of Taiwanese decent, or Vera Wang, of Chinese decent, who was a guest that evening. Perhaps a dress by one of them would have pacified Oscar de la Renta, who — after going on The View almost two years ago to defend what he said about one of Michelle’s cardigans — is back to verbalize his disapproval.
“My understanding,” de la Renta told WWD, “is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade — American products in China and Chinese products in America. Why do you wear European clothes?”
De la Renta noted that Obama remains a major fashion get, with the power to boost a house’s business. “I’m not talking about my clothes, my business. I’m old, and I don’t need it. But there are a lot of young people, very talented people here who do,” he said.