Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, you were our very first African-American First Lady of the United States, wife to the 44th President, Barack Obama. On behalf of the African-American race, we thank you! 

Andrea “Aunni” Young

You have overwhelmed us with your beauty, we are overtaken by your stature. You gave us flow where grace was unavailable. You made us shine when no one could see the reflection. You were the light glowing in our storm. You are the epitome of our style, we live and breathe to be the next you. Yet, there will never be another like you. Your presence, style and grace has illuminated our race with eminence and distinction. You have achieved the highest of any lady in our country, and we thank you!

The first lady has powerfully influenced our nation during the past eight years, representing a country that comprises a diaspora of races, ethnicities, culture, and history. A woman of humble beginnings, she is the product of Chicago public schools. Obama studied sociology and African-American studies at Princeton University, and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988. And with excellence in all things, she is a master of influencing our support of life-changing, charitable causes. Obama was called to serve our nation—she is Malia and Sasha’s mom, but somehow, she was a mother to us all.

Over the course of eight years, our high fashionista, our African-American first lady, ruled with grace from the East Wing of the White House, launching four successful initiatives: Let’s Move!, Joining Forces, Reach Higher, and Let Girls Learn. Obama also planted the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn to support Let’s Move!. In October, she announced that the National Park Service will care for the White House garden with private funding of $2.5 million. Her South Lawn vegetables, fruits, and herbs will inspire humanity to preserve local farming and healthy eating. Obama, a proud lioness who ruled with style and grace, has been humanity’s strategic champion of these programs and more. But more than anything, I want to talk about her style.

For many years now, Obama has glided down her own catwalk with rave reviews. Her service as a global icon has included traveling to many lands as our brand ambassador. Her taste for international design has been unleashed over time, specifically Italian.

At her last White House State Dinner this past October, Obama wore an Atelier Versace chainmail gown. She was breathtaking, illuminated against a shimmering sunrise of rose gold and Le Vian diamonds. As always, she was refined with a perfectly fitted bodice, couture draping and ruching. The Atelier Versace’s asymmetric, off-shoulder neckline highlighted her bronzed skin and long, beautiful neck.

This past December, Obama wore a custom green and pink floral silk gown designed by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele to the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony. The illustrious gown featured a perfectly placed, vintage-styled brooch on her waist, a pearl and crystal signature by Alessandro Michele.

“This is the first time Mrs. Obama wore a non-American designer gown to Washington’s cultural event of the year,” said Stephany Greene, a fashion designer and style consultant. Greene, author of “Stephany’s Style Secrets: 7 Steps to Live and Dress Your Best,” has branded and designed collections for the NFL, NBA, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Perry Ellis. “This was a political nod to honor the recently resigned Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.” 

 

Obama has also made appearances in several American designer gowns, dresses, and separates, patronizing brands such as Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Tracy Reese, Michael Kors, Narciso Rodriguez, and Naeem Khan. A style maverick, the first lady has also worn young designers garb from brands like Jason Wu, Thom Browne, Tanya Taylor and Christian Siriano, keeping with the country’s spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation. Both of Obama’s inaugural gowns were designed by Wu, an Asian-American designer.

Obama has sported affordable designer brands like J. Crew, showing an alliance with many middle class Americans. Meredith Koop, Obama’s stylist since 2009, recently told Harper’s Bazaar magazine that “we really had to break that [first ladyish] mold.” Koop is a 35-year-old Missouri native that met Obama when the president was still a state senator in Chicago.

Obama has also worn other international couture designs by Alexander McQueen and Azzedine Alaia, amongst others. 

“Highlighting designers from diverse backgrounds with varying levels of success and exposure became an important part of my role,” Koop told Harper’s Bazaar.

So, we thank you, first lady Michelle Obama!  You have taken your final stroll of grace through the East Wing, and somehow the power of love will not radiate as it once did.  As the south lawn gazes back upon the times you lived in the White House, the zeitgeist of empowerment and hope will stand tall, waiting for you to reappear. The garden flowers that once popped with beauty after a mid-morning rain, will appear not to peak in bloom. The blades of grass, once luscious and green, will not reach their height; because your beauty will not be there to lift them up each day. The glistening winter snows that froze with an icy reverence for you, will no longer reflect the sparkle in your eyes. The birds so beautiful, that floated through the air surrounding the White House, once perched on branches singing songs of praise to you; will now glide away, distantly fading into the air, as they no longer sense your presence. The wind that whirled through the White House grounds, calm and fierce, will wish for your breath, and nothing at all will be same.

We bless you forever, first lady Michelle Obama, because your sacrifice will always hold true, and we thank you!