Jan 26, 2009
Jan 21, 2009
Okay,I have avoided all other posts and assessments so far. So here is my own response.
The coat and sheath dress by Isabel Toledo. Wonderful color, bright and fresh and popped beautifully in both single and crowd shots. It was great on the screen, unique to the First Lady, and I loved that. Great lace texture and the gold shimmer gave it life. I thought it worked well in going from noon to early evening. Loved the green gloves and shoes. The whole look was just very now and polished without being at all cliched or over the top.
The Inaugural Ball Gown. Again, a polished look, very now, very soft and not at all a standard 'political' look. The chiffon was lovely, and when I could see the details in the bodice, a fascinating effect. Loved the one shoulder line for her - she can do it well. Beautifully accessorized. The pale color did get washed out by some of the very harsh spotlight lighting at a couple of the balls. She handled the train well, but I did get worried it was getting stepped on!
I really loved that Mrs. Obama went in fresh direction. No Satin. No Beaded Lace. No Red , no Blue. No long sleeves and Neckline Up to Here. And yet she found a look that was appropriate and formal and grand. Good deal.
And kudos to Dr. Jill Biden on walking Pennsylvania Ave. in spike heel boots and looking stunning in a red chiffon strapless gown. Fab.
And that closes out this series. We will return to our regular programming in a few days when I get some rest!
Jan 20, 2009
Lovely. You will notice that Mary Todd Lincoln wore a dress four years in 1861 that was very similar, and I thought it was too youthul and low cut. The difference is age and situation. Mary Todd Lincoln was a mother and wife in her 40s. Harriet Lane was a single woman of 27. It makes a difference.
Jan 18, 2009
Now for the Dresses.
This gown, a blue-violet beaded lace sheath with a mousseline overskirt, was created by the New York designer Sarah Phillips and made by Barbara Matera Ltd. Mrs. Clinton formally donated the gown and matching velvet coat, which she wore to eleven inaugural balls on January 20, 1993, to the National Museum of American History in 1995. "
But that was then, this is now. I like the full hem. Volume is a good thing. I LOVE the color. I must say , she looks fabulous in some photos such as this one. But not quite as as good in some close-ups. Her blond hair and complexion really show well. Call me crazy, but although I don't like the sheer overskirt ( better in an opaque fabric) I actually like this now. I give it an B+.
1997. Oscar de la Renta. Of course. Mr. De la Renta is a wonderful designer of grand evening wear. He does understand what is called for. So it’s a safe choice. This gown is rich, it’s elegant, it's simple and was much better received. Only my personal choice, but I do think blondes should avoid yellow and golds. They don’t set off the hair color. A-.
Jan 16, 2009
Some close-ups. The two Mrs. Wilsons, Edith Boling Gault ( second wife, Inaugural in 1917) on left and Ellen Axson Wilson ( first wife, died in office, Inaugural in 1913) in right . Edith, quite a the business woman and very much a force, and Ellen, very maternal, much loved.
Left to right, Edith Kermit Roosevelt , Ida McKinley and Frances Cleveland.
Edith - the perfect lady, tolerant mother of an active bunch of kids, and the one person Theodore Roosevelt was intimidated by. Inaugural in 1905. Ida, we already did. Frances - married Grover Cleveland in her early 20s, while he was in the White House, immensely popular, came back for second term, Inaugural in 1893. Outlived him by many years and remarried. Check her out - an interesting life. I can show you her White House wedding dress:
Jan 14, 2009
1985 - Okay - Fabulous Dress for the occasion, appropriate for her age and body type. The quality of beading is superb , the long line is good and she covered up her arms. And she can wear white well. A+ less a half grade for the bad publicity A-.
Jan 12, 2009
I stand by my opinion here. Tasteful, safe.
Lady Bird Johnson, 1965 . The designer is John Moore, the dress is a "A-line gown in jonquil-yellow double-weave silk".
The bodice is the best part. I still like the color. The skirt is a bit boring.
Patricia Nixon, 1973. I liked this better in black and white. Maybe it’s the quality pf the photography. But that blue is a little ‘baby’ for my taste. Half grade off.
Jan 10, 2009
I must say I think this was brilliantly designed for her. The deep velvet bodice slims her torso by being so dark and soaking up the light. The diagonal line of the skirt - perfect for her figure. The color is great for her hair, the wide, open neckline brings the focus up to her face and balance the skirt. Well done, Mr. Scaasi. I really do think this was one of the best dresses she ever wore. And it works perfectly for the occasion. A+.
Jan 8, 2009
from : http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretia_Garfield : “Library of Congress description: "Garfield, Mrs. James, wife of President Garfield" Source Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection. Date: between 1870 and 1880 Author Mathew Brady or Levin Handy”
From the Smithsonian Institution: from the National Museum of American History: Back view, “Lucretia Garfield wore this gown to the 1881 inaugural ball. The gown's original color was a delicate lavender. It was dyed with fuschine, a light-sensitive synthetic dye that faded to oyster white. “
Front view, from the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System
It’s 1881, she is slim, dark haired and 48 years old. I would have loved to see this in the original lavender. The back is stunning. The front of the dress is overly complex by today‘s standards, a bit like a wedding cake, but in 1881, that was the style. The monochrmatic range saves it from being overwhelming. As I have said before, I am a fan of this era. A-.
Jan 7, 2009
First up is the 2001 red lace Michael Faircloth gown. This is the most flattering photo I could find. The straight on shots, not so good. This didn’t go over very well. It’s not awful - it’s not even bad. The color is good. A very popular color amongst political women, that red. But frankly, it’s a bit matronly. I understand the desire to cover up - it’s January, it’s a formal state event, she‘s modest woman. But all this is really a basically boring sheath dress in red lace with a bit of hem flounce. B.
That said, all the fashion designers and writers go on about how the First Lady has a duty to support the American Fashion Industry. But as soon as one picks a designer that isn’t a Major Name, they have a cow. Look, American fashion exists in more places than NY and California. I give kudos to both Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton for choosing designers from out of the mainstream for their first gowns.
Jan 6, 2009
So in a tangential feature to our First Ladies A Day series, here’s 3 Mollie Parnis dress and coat sets we have at available. Don’t they look warm and chic on a January day? Yes, indeed they do.
Late 1970s Beige, Tan & Cream Mollie Parnis Dress & Coat Suit from Mary Ellen’s Couture, Memphis at http://www.pastperfectvintage.etsy.com
Jan 5, 2009
So we have 2 inaugural balls, one in 1869, one in 1873. This dress is from 1873.
Jan 4, 2009
The papers of the time never mentioned her illnesses, or her seizures, but just talked about her clothes. She spent her well time making endless crocheted slippers. When her husband was assassinated in 1901, his last words were about her - to be careful how they told her. Ida retired to her home in Ohio, was inconsolable and died a few years later in 1907. It‘s a sad story all together.
for more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ida_Saxton_McKinley and http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/im25.html
First , a portrait because you probably don't know what she looked like:
from http://www.whitehousemuseum.org/: Ida McKinley sitting for a portrait, circa 1899
The second inaugural dress:
from http://siris-collections.si.edu : Ida Saxton McKinley's 1901 Inauguration gown
from www.imageenvision.com , ca 1901
I don't think this is the same dress, although it is awfully hard to tell. There are several more of her in formal gowns at this site - take a look. Ida was always richly dressed. It must have been her one consolation. She was small - petite and a 19" waist on some of her dresses. The only level I can grade this on is that she seems overwhelmed by the clothes - they seem to own her. All surface and not too much depth of personality, but she may have wanted it that way. I give her a B.
Jan 2, 2009
People pictured: Mesta, Perle, ca. 1890-1975; Truman, Bess Wallace, 1885-1982;( second from left) Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Truman, Margaret (Mary Margaret), 1924-"
" Truman family at Inaugural Ball.
Date: ca. January 1949Mesta, Perle, ca. 1890-1975; Truman, Bess Wallace, 1885-1982; ( on extreme left) Truman, Harry S., 1884-1972; Truman, Margaret (Mary Margaret), 1924- "
"President and Mrs. Truman, Vice President Barkley, his daughter, and Margaret Truman at the inaugural gala in 1949. Date: January 19, 1949"
As to these: as best I can tell, nice formal dresses in good fabrics for almost any conservative middle aged, middle class woman of the late 40s. I would like to see more of the dark, possibly velvet draped gown. Looks like the same fur cape.
I give her a B. Nothing brilliant, but nothing wrong, either. She knew who she was.
Bonus Photo: Bess Truman in 1901 at the time of her high school graduation. How lovely.