Sunday, February 1, 2009


The color Yellow is one of the most sublime to behold. It represents Ra and Helios, the Sun. It means Light. Energy. Power. Fertility. Beauty. That's why Au, Gold - the precious metal is yellow. The Universe always knows what it is doing at all times.

We are the ones who are, to use an idiom, all fucked up.

Everyone has talked, opined, commented and written about Michele Obama's yelllow dress at the Inaugural ceremonies in Washington D. C. I thought I would wait until the ruckus died down before I put in my not so modest opinion. After all, I was one of the prime Movers of the Gucci Image. Yes dears, it happened long before Tom Ford il Bello took over. Gucci was a super - famous and recognizeable brand long before he set eyes on the blooming place.

Premise: Michele Obama is tall, lovely and lithe. That does not make her glamorous. Few men and women are glamorous. They can be drop dead gorgeous but that is another kettle of fish. She cannot be compared EVER to Jacqueline Kennedy. Granted Jackie was this side of short, had heavy squatty legs from riding horses forever but and this is the point to keep in mind, she radiated allure, beauty and glamour. She also had breeding. She was a class act. Women like that do not grow on trees, come out of cabbage patches, coal mines, trailers, nouveau riche mansions or ticky - tacky houses.

Having said that I would like to point out that Michele Obama wears clothes very well. She could be turned into a clothes horse, much as the late Lady Diana Spencer was. Again - she will never come close to Di's charisma and glamour ( there's that word again ) I don't think Michele cares for glamour because she is a very aware individual. Thus, she knows she will never bother to attain it because glamour needs a certain amount of superficiality, not much but enough.

She could certainly be more of a stunning woman. In her own way she projects self-confidence and success. She is also highly intelligent as well as street smart, much more so than Jacqueline or Lady Diana ever were. Michele should tell the designes what she wants, not the other way around. Yellow is not a color for the olive - skinned or amber skinned, no matter how sexy or lovely their figures are.

My daughter Cinzia is olive-skinned. She would never be caught dead in yellow or lemongrass. Mia cara Isabel Toledo, have you ever seen lemongrass? Our gardeners used to grow masses of it in Santol Mansion, my grandmother's house. In Manila they grow to a height of ten feet or more. I can assure you, unless Monsanto has been mucking around with lemongrass genes's color it is green tending towards what the French call Chartreuse. But yellow? Quelle horreur! Jamais.

I can understand why she would want to avail herself of American designers. Some of the greatest names in Haute Couture/High Fashion happened to be Americans. Giants such as Mainbocher, Valentina, Norman Norell, Ceil Chapman, Olga,Pauline Trigere, Oleg Casini, James Galanos, Don Loper, Irene, Valentina,Edith Head, Geoffrey Beene and Bill Blass had nothing to learn from the French or the Italian designers. I wonder why Michele did not go to Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, and Estevez?

Perhaps she wanted talented but less well-known designers in order to give them a hand in lauching them. That is sweet.

I see Michele in an emerald green or aquamarine dress, even a turquoise ensemble. Pink would be too divine on her, as would be cyclamen. Bleu Royal is a wonderful color and very becoming on her. When it comes to color, I think the world is her oyster, except she should be vigilant regarding those yellows, please, because of the amber in her skin tones.

Red would have been tasteless because there has been too much American, Iraqi, Afghan, Palestinian and Israeli blood and God only knows what else staining our pavements and television and computer screens; to name just a few.

No one really wants to remember Nancy Reagan right now in all those pricey Galanos suits and red - red everywhere.. She is aging gracefully. If and when she dies I'll say my piece then.

In true fashion , the rules are that there are no rules. Only slaves, women of low self - esteem and parvenus follow the diktats of the tasteless gurus of today. I say Brava to Michele for daring to wear green gloves and shoes. Ah! that was brava/brave all right. Was it tasteful? Probably not. Pristine white kid gloves would have been splendid. What's wrong with light gray suede shoes?

Now let's take a look at her gown. Michele has beautiful arms, chest, shoulders and back. Why did the so called designer not make a strapless gown with a silk organza foulard? Organza is sheer and the softness and flow of the fabric would have given her an ethereal yet sexy look without being outrageous or even bold. By giving her a one strap gown he cut through the beautiful lines of her body. He's supposed to be Oriental. He should know about meridians and feng shui.

She is a smashing woman. Too bad the designers did not make her look smashing to the fullest.

Fashion in the 21st century is a corpse. Thanks to the feminists women have lost the art of being elegant, alluring, sexy and glamorous. They dress like the tarts and sluts of the streets. Or, they are always in badly cut pant suits.

Michele has the option of changing some of these attitudes. I repeat she was not badly dressed, only wrongly attired. She was simply not dressed to her full potential. That is what has disappointed me the most.

Unlike her mate, she has time on her side to be outre and dashing.


  1. Thanks for sharing your impeccable fashion sense, Isabel. I disagree only on your estimation of Michelle's fine chest. Actually, she is flat chested. I don't know if you caught her clothes last summer on the campaign trail, but she looked smashing in three outfits that were simple uni-color sheaths, all worn with the same black patent leather belt. The colors were turquoise (which you recommend for her - excellent choice), purple and orange. Even though her flat chestedness was apparent in these outfits, as well as was her overly large derriere, she still looked great in those three outfits. My fashion recipe for Michelle would be to always opt for simplicity. Both the inaugural dress/coat as well as the ball gown were too flossy-fancy for her type. The dress/coat looked like it was specially designed for dowdy Queen Elizabeth, or else was ripped from the drapes in a conference room in a seedy two star hotel, or from a couch in the same establishment.

    Can't wait to hear what you have to say about Nancy Reagan.

    Baci e grazie,


  2. Being allergic to sartorial advertisements of mere wealth (class is something entirely different), I'm hostile to any fashion industry whose products cannot reasonably be emulated by people of modest means. However, it's quite possible for de facto "models" such as Jackie Kennedy whom you mentioned to set such reasonable standards, as she did to good effect. Women of the early 1960s didn't need to spend a bundle to emulate Jackie.

    And then appropriate dress depends on the situation and one's personal role. So, yeah, I can see the importance of the First Lady wearing something special on inaugural night - but something appropriately democratic, while mutatis mutandis it would be inappropriate for the Queen to dress anything other than an ARCHAICALLY regal way on her coronation.

    Same goes for men, but I think men of ALL ranks should always dress understatedly. But dressing with dignity doesn't cost a bundle. My standard apparel: Black Levis (basic cut), Van Heusen oxford shirt, black Florsheim shoes regularly shined. But if I ever meet the Queen of Australia, then for that occasion I'll upgrade to a proper suit and vest, but in the same black and white - which would be all the more appropriate for my role as her "subject".

    But an Australian subject of the Queen, equally as an American citizen, is not a slave. Thus, one wonders why so many American men of today, even those of ample means, dress like slaves in flimsy gym clothes and flip-flop sandals or sneakers, and those bloody stupid, puerile baseball caps.

    By the way, I think you'd love the movie "Zoolander", perhaps the funniest movie of the past decade, a piss-take of the fashion industry. A montage of clips here:

  3. Another thought re, "I see Michele in an emerald green..."

    Being fashion-illiterate, I don't know your reasoning for that, but it does remind me of Cyd Charisse in this clip:

    Their skin colours are very different, but Cyd Charisse - being one of the darker kinds of Jews - did have a subtle kind of swarthiness, and was very tall. So I can see how that might work for Michelle. But not the flapper fringe, at least not on Inauguration night ;-)

    On that note, as Mrs Obama is said to have a great sense of humour, she and her husband might appreciate this piece from The Onion:

    Without reposing any unrealistic hopes in President Obama, I do perceive some admirable and authentically likable qualities in him, and I'm impressed by his recent admission that he "screwed up" in one of his appointments.
    Also, the fact that he's a smoker (very un-PC!) raises his stature half-a-notch in my eyes, as an indication that to some extent he's his own man and not just a mass-produced shirt devoid of any personal stuff.


Isabel Van Fechtmann

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