HOUSE PARTY: First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a major fashion blowout Wednesday night for an army of designers, industry insiders and publicists. A crowd of 300 including Francisco Costa, Carolina Herrera, Vera Wang, Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, Naomi Campbell, Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne were among the revelers. In a 10-minute speech, the First Lady told the crowd that she had wanted to open the White House doors to the roomful of designers for a long time, said one guest who asked not to be identified in respect to FLOTUS’ no-leaks-please request. She also thanked the many designers in the room for dressing her over the years, according to another guest.
When a cellphone rang during her remarks, Obama didn’t miss a beat – “Tell them I said hey.” she said, according to another guest.
With the Champagne and white wine flowing, some attendees said the East Room was so packed that it was difficult to hear FLOTUS clearly. The shindig capped off an all-day celebration of design that had featured workshops and a panel discussion earlier in the day. Narciso Rodriguez, Zac Posen, Prabal Gurung, Diane von Furstenberg, J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons, Maria Cornejo Lela Rose, Jason Wu, Reed Krakoff, Anna Wintour and some of the other participants returned to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Wednesday night to raise a glass to fashion with Obama who wore an Oscar de la Renta dress and Jimmy Choo shoes. They had plenty of familiar faces to chat with – Cecilia Dean, Elle’s Robbie Meyers, Joanna Coles, Sally Singer, Michel Botbol, Pierre Rougier, Malcolm Carfrae, Edward Enninful, Jason Weisenfeld and “tons” of other fashion types turned out. And contrary to typical protocol, the White House staff wasn’t politely ushering people towards the door at the designated end tie of 7:30 p.m.
Obama’s party was a first for any White House, which had never gathered a group of fashion designers solely to celebrate their talent. One attendee described the guest list “as really far and wide,” with Nanette Lepore, Max Azria, Jeffrey Costello, Robert Tagliapietra, Milly’s Michelle Smith and Talbots ceo Lizanne Kindler and Meredith Paley being among the partygoers. During her remarks, Obama thanked her go-to inhouse fashion staffer and unofficial personal shopper Meredith Koop who helped to reel in everyone.
“It was a major fashion event,” said Rose Wednesday night. “It was a really beautiful cocktail party and the First Lady and the White House staff really could not have been nicer.”
The party was apparently totally off the grid. Not only was it closed to the press but the customary reports provided by selected White House pool reporters who track every move the First Lady makes were not provided and neither were her remarks at the party.