Christmas in Washington broadcast — taped on December 12 — Mrs. Obama is sporting a vintage 1950s black lace dress by one of America’s once-great, now-obscure American designers, Norman Norell.
This is a historic event, as this may be the first time a First Lady has worn a vintage dress!
While little known these days outside fashion circles, designer Norman Norell (1900 – 1972) was one of America’s most influential mid-century designers. His simple but stylish clothing was known for its timelessness, glamor, and beautiful construction. Considered the first American fashion designer to compete successfully with the then-omnipotent French couturiers, Norell’s obituary appeared on the front page of The New York Times with the headline: “Made 7th Ave. the Rival of Paris.”
MRS. PRESIDENT MICHELLE OBAMA dress was from New York Vintage, a boutique in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, boasts an archive of clothing dating back to the early 1800s, and includes designs by “Father of Couture” Charles Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Elsa Schiaparelli, and, of course, Chanel. They also stock pieces by American designers James Galanos, Halston, and Mainbocher, among many others.
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