OSCAR ON WATCH: Apparently, quintessential Americana stops at Michelle Obama’s closet door — and not everyone approves. Fashion’s intrepid dissenter of record, Oscar de la Renta, questioned the choice of the lovely red-to-black gown by Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton the First Lady wore to the state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao.

“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?”

This story first appeared in the January 21, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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.

TO THE NINES: A couple of 90-year-olds are teaming up to host what could be one of the most happening soirees during Paris couture week. Gucci, marking that milestone this year, and French Vogue, which already did last October with a mammoth issue, are feting the Italian brand’s revamped Rue Royale store with a dinner Tuesday night hosted by Carine Roitfeld for Frida Giannini at the Italian ambassador’s residence. Up-and-coming British singer Anna Calvi is expected to perform for the likes of Diane Kruger, Charlotte Casiraghi and about 100 others.

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