Sarah Graham Metalsmithing

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Politics of Fashoin

The subject of politics seem unavoidable these days. Yet, in the context of art, maybe we can all see eye to eye, or at least agree that we are witnessing something interesting, and remarkable, and that being of the same opinion is not prerequisite to sharing precious experiences.

The recent election of Barak Obama has dominated headlines on a scale second only perhaps to the economy. There are many reasons why people are enthralled with our new president, not the least of which is his wife, Michelle, who represents an ideal of a strong, independent woman perhaps better than any First Lady before her - at least for my generation. And while her professional resume and accomplishments as a mother are impressive, it is her personal style that is on my mind.

Michelle has been praised for her ‘accessible glamour’, mixing adventurous looks from little know designers like Isabel Toledo with basics from lower priced chains like J-Crew. And while her populist style is probably more a show of restraint than a reflection of a diminishing income, her price consciousness is something that we can all relate to. But it is her preference for boutique designers outside New York’s 7th Avenue guard that most excites me. This could also be construed as a political move – supporting small business falls in nicely with the Obama rhetoric. But if you take a closer look at the actual designers she has worn, you see a pattern emerge that goes beyond conventional wisdom. The designs of Jason Wu, Thakoon, and the above mentioned Toledo are sculptural works of art that transcend trend and are crafted with a quality fit for a museum. Could it possibly be that Mrs. Obama, between her legal career, raising her daughters, and campaigning for her husband, also has the time to understand and appreciate these designs for the fine works of art that they are?

Those of you reading this blog, and who have an almost equally demanding life style, know that the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’, and that style is not merely an indulgence for those with an abundance of time and money. Once one avails themselves to the superior quality, impeccable craftsmanship and thoughtful details of wearable art, one realizes why the best clothing and accessories deserve the same high regard as the best paintings and sculptures, and that the fashion you wear is a display of your sophistication and appreciation for such. But most importantly, it is an expression of your personal style, and it is wonderful to have a woman in such a high position as Michelle embrace hers with such flair and passion…and politics have nothing to do with