Fashion special: Dressing up Michelle Obama, the First Lady of style

Jan 23, 2015, 08:40 IST | Dhara Vora

For the Obamas' forthcoming visit to our country, we quiz fashion designers and stylists on how, if given a chance, would they prefer to drape First Lady Michelle Obama during her trip.

Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama at the Commander-in-Chief’s Ball, honouring US service members and their families, at the Walter E Washington Convention Center, January 21, 2013, Washington. Pic/AFP

Michelle Obama dance
US President Barack Obama (in white shirt) watches Michelle Obama dance, during a cultural event at The Holy Name High School in Mumbai, November 7, 2010. Pic/AFP

Gaurang Shah  Gaurang Shah, designer
A gown woven in jamdani on khadi — a classic style, with intricate woven details.

The design is ‘birds of paradise’ which accentuates the good looking, feminine side of the power lady.

The beautiful, traditional hand-woven jamdani khadi gown with varied colour tones immediately brings the attention to the wearer’s face.

I believe this all-season, eco-friendly fabric will be the perfect Indian wear for the most stylish first lady.

Illustration by Gaurang Shah

Pernia  Pernia Qureshi, stylist
Michelle Obama’s style is truly ground-breaking. I would like to style her in feminine but strong outfits while playing around with colours and patterns.

Due to the cold, wet climate of New Delhi, dressing her in comfortable and appropriate silhouettes is a must.

Some of my choices would include feminine asymmetrical dresses from Neha Taneja and elegant embellished tops by Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna.

For a more laid-back appeal, I would suggest long maxi dresses from Bungalow 8 which would look perfect on her! It will be great to see her in an Indian avatar adorning an opulent saree by Sabyasachi.

Anupama Dayal Anupama Dayal, designer
Michelle Obama is a designer’s dream to dress.

Beautiful, elegant, tall, with a wonderful and gracious personality. She will look like a goddess in a saree.

Even other Indian garments like the sharara kameez, salwar kameez, etc, will work beautifully on the icon of our times.

The colours I would use would be ivory, reds and other strong Indian colours.

Varun Bahl  Varun Bahl, designer
A contemporary Indian outfit like a saree gown in textured fabrics in pale pink or pistachio green would complement her perfectly.

The saree-gown is a mix of both Indian and western sensibilities and would be easy enough for her to carry off. Another outfit that I would like to see Michelle Obama in would be a long-sleeved, floor-length anarkali with a Chinese collar in tones of pearl and beige with gold and deep red zardozi work.

The fabrics would be a blend of raw silk and heavy chiffon keeping in mind the cold weather, her numerous official engagements and to allow her to move freely.

She could either wear this look with or without a dupatta or even drape a pashmina shawl.

Shyamal  Shyamal Shodhan, designer
A saree would flatter her appearance and would be appropriate for the Republic Day Parade visit.

It can be of a nice jewel tone such as ruby pinkish or wine-pink worn with a variation in the usual style of draping.

Neeta Lulla  Neeta Lulla, designer
I would dress her in a knee-length sheath skirt with a jacket or shirt dress in khadi.

This will look elegant and stylish, and it suits our humid climate.

cx   Ritu Kumar, designer
The outfits should reflect both the traditional and classical sense of the textiles of India as well as the aesthetics of the handlooms of Benaras that India is famous for.

I would give her a tanchoi indigo blue and gold sari. A black and grey woven tunic with antique zardozi neckline, teamed with a crinkled divided lehnga in black with a crinkle chunni.

Brocades in fuchsia and orange red colours would also work well as a short dress, enhanced with solid jersey.

The weaves of Varanasi would also underline the need to revive our handloom heritage and make a great statement for the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his pledge to save river Ganga.

Rohan Arora  Rohan Arora, footwear designer
She is a very chic person and since she will be attending the Republic Day parade, I would like to design nude-coloured jootis (since it’s winter) embellished with gold zardozi.

Even Kolhapuris could be styled well.


Payal Singhal  Payal Singhal, designer
I would love to dress her in our signature chintz print silk dupion circle skirt with a nice white shirt and statement gold jewellery.

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