Laura Bush is still shopping for her fashion identity. The First Lady pulled up with her presidential cavalcade at Seventh Avenue and 37th Street around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday and popped into 501 Seventh Avenue with her security detail. About 90 minutes later — as long as, say, a typical fitting might take — she popped back out in a gray pantsuit and white blouse, having browsed the showroom of Carolina Herrera. A spokeswoman for the designer would not confirm the visit, but it could portend a departure from Bush’s recent travel wardrobe, created by Arnold Scaasi. Could a state dinner the Bushes will host next Wednesday for the President of Poland and his wife — only the second state dinner of the President’s term — be the reason for a visit to Fashion Avenue?

Whatever the reason, the Bush sighting had remarkably the same effect on morning commuters as did those of her mother-in-law a decade ago.

This story first appeared in the July 12, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Oh, look,” said one man, as the First Lady stepped out of her limo. “It’s Barbara Bush.”

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