Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

Category: Barack Obama

Fashion News: Grammys 2012 showed glamour with a touch of wack

Katy Perry
The red carpet at Grammys 2012 on Sunday had its share of glamour but mixed in some wackiness too, our Melissa Magsaysay reports. Think of Katy Perry's aquamarine Elie Saab gown, with her hair dyed to match, or Nicki Minaj's ruby-red Atelier Versace nun's habit. [Los Angeles Times]

Juicy Couture has named David Bassuk co-president of the brand, for which he previously served as a consultant. [WWD] (Subscription required.)

Uniqlo is developing a line of tennis wear with one of the sports' rising stars, Kei Nishikori. [WWD] (Subscription required.)

Los Angeles-based Rodarte plans to unveil its first shoe collection during its New York Fashion Week show on Tuesday.  [The Cut]

Follow our All the Rage blog for coverage of New York Fashion Week from Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic Booth Moore and reporter Adam Tschorn.

First Lady Michelle Obama wore a blue floral dress from the Jason Wu for Target collection when she visited a family in Florida over the weekend. [The Cut]

Michelle Williams wore a bespoke gown by retailer H&M to the BAFTAS over the weekend. [Telegraph]

"The Artist" mopped up awards at the event. [Los Angeles Times]

Forget celebrity performers (like Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj) — now fashion designers Prabal Gurung, Betsey Johnson and Peter Som are all doing nail-polish collaborations. [Racked]


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— Susan Denley

Photo: Katy Perry in Elie Saab gown and dyed-to-match hair at the Grammy Awards 2012. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Obama throws out the first pitch -- and the dad jeans


President Obama threw out the first pitch at Nationals Park Monday -- and he's apparently thrown out the much-derided "dad jeans" (a pair of hiked-up Levi's 501s) that earned him style demerits from armchair fashion critics.

When POTUS took to the mound, he was wearing a crisp-looking pair of dark-khaki-colored chinos along with a red Washington Nationals baseball jacket (note the popped collar) and a White Sox ball cap.

The day's half over and we're still trying to get the provenance of said tan trousers -- to us it looks like there's a square logo label over the right rear pocket, which might make them Dickies. We'll update when we know more.

-- Adam Tschorn

More All The Rage coverage of Politics & Style

Revenge of the Dad Jeans: POTUS Named to VF's 2009  Best-Dressed List

Obama on the mound: A White Sox jacket and Levi's 501s

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Photo: President Obama throws out the first pitch at Nationals Park in Washington  on Monday on baseball's Opening Day before  the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals. He also appears to have thrown out what some had called the "dad jeans" he'd worn on the mound to throw out the first pitch for the All-Star game in July 2009. Credit: Saul Loeb  AFP / Getty Images.

White House rains on Weatherproof's Obama billboard

Weatherproof billboard

You can tell us he's wearing your suits, name him to your 2009 international best-dressed list, print his name on cocktail dresses and even turn him into a fashionable paper doll, but apparently it's not OK to throw up a towering billboard advertisement in New York's Times Square depicting President Obama shrugging off the inclement weather in one of your coats. Weatherproof Garment Co. is finding that out the hard way.

Associated Press fashion writer Samantha Critchell penned a piece Wednesday detailing the White House's unhappiness with the billboard, citing a long-standing policy that disapproves of the use of Obama's name and likeness for commercial purposes.

The billboard consists of a photo of the commander in chief, taken by AP photographer Charles Dharapak as Obama toured the Great Wall of China. The president's hands are in his pockets and he's got a rugged, looking-off-to-the-horizon stance like (dare we say it?) the Marlboro Man of old. Accompanying the photo is the label's name and the tag line "A Leader in Style."

Because the resulting kerfuffle has served to bring the president's wardrobe choices to the attention of more people than it ever would have if the White House hadn't said anything, we think the garment maker will weather this one just fine.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: Weatherproof Garment Co.'s billboard in Times Square. Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images

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Celebrate the 'aloha administration' at Tiki Oasis in San Diego


On Friday I'm headed down to San Diego for Tiki Oasis 9, which bills itself as "the largest and longest running tiki event on planet Earth" to follow up on my article last fall about the resurging interest in Polynesian pop culture.

Continue reading »

Obama's new healthcare logo causes a Web frenzy

Rage_logo I've long appreciated the way the Obama campaign -- and later Obama administration -- has realized the importance and power of typefaces, symbols and logos (most recently in March, when I parsed the Recovery Act logo.

So my curiosity was piqued when one of the top Google searches popping up on my screen this afternoon had to do with Organizing for America's recent branding effort -- a round logo reminiscent of the campaign trail "O," partially filled with red and white stripes and topped with a caduceus, a herald's staff entwined with two snakes and topped with a pair of wings that is often used to symbolize the medical profession, though an argument rages as to whether it -- or the single-serpent, wingless "rod of Asclepius" is the more accurate mythological callback.

But that's not precisely the debate burning up the bandwidth today. Apparently some folks (including Rush Limbaugh) seem to feel the new insignia is reminiscent of some Nazi symbol or other.

That's a long way to go for a little in my book. It actually looks more like a "Golden Snitch" to me -- that's the winged, walnut-sized ball used in Quidditch -- the game Harry Potter and cohorts play on broomsticks in the J.K. Rowling book series.

And it actually makes more sense -- any young wizard will tell you the game isn't going to end until someone captures the Snitch. 

Rush Limbaugh, rev up your Nimbus 3000 broom, posthaste!

-- Adam Tschorn

Obama recovery plan's logo gets a critique

More on Barack Obama in All the Rage

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Logo from Organizing for America

Revenge of the 'dad jeans' -- president joins wife on Vanity Fair best-dressed list


Our compatriots over in the Calendar section have posted the news that President Obama has made the grade -- style-wise anyway -- and has joined his wife (who has made the cut twice before) on Vanity Fair's 2009 International Best-Dressed List.

That should come as a bit of a shock to those who pilloried the POTUS for the so-called "dad jeans" he wore while throwing out the first pitch at the MLB All-Star game (even "Today's" Meredith Viera felt the need to ask the leader of the free world about his jeans).

Continue reading »

Obama on the mound: A White Sox jacket and Levi's 501s a pitcher of style

barack obama first pitch major league all-star game st. louis During the campaign season, I noted that candidate Barack Obama was wearing what looked like high-waisted "dad jeans." Maybe that was a one-off fashion faux pas, a bad camera angle or he likes to just hike 'em up high, but Tuesday night when he took the pitcher's mound to throw out the first pitch of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis, in addition to his beloved White Sox jacket the president was wearing what a Levi Strauss rep confirmed were Levi's Red Tab 501 jeans.

It's worth noting that his predecessor in the Oval Office was a die-hard Wrangler man, and wore that brand during his frequent brush-clearing excursions to the Crawford ranch.

Though I'm certainly not the first to note the shifting denim allegiance -- in an April 4 "Saturday Night Live" opening sketch (see below), Fred Armisen's Fauxbama rattled off an interminably long list of what companies and brands, under his administration, would be supported and which ones wouldn't: "Blue jeans-- Levi... YES. Wrangler... NO."

It underscores my observations about brand preferences as a reflection of the two different kinds of people in this world, the same way the Coke versus Pepsi and Mac versus PC debates do.

No matter, though. It's pretty clear that whatever side the leaders of the free world come down on, they still have to put those pants on one leg at a time.

-- Adam Tschorn


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Photos: Michelle Obama, fashion icon

All the Rage: More on Michelle Obama's fashion sense

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Photo: President Obama throws out the first pitch of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo credit: Tim Sloan / AFP/Getty Images

Politics of style: Obama cocktail dress

Nancy Judd Obama cocktail dress As you may have heard, many women want a piece of First Lady Michelle Obama's wardrobe. Now Pitzer College alum Nancy Judd has found a way to create feminine looks from the street style of the Obamas' pre-White House days --  territory that was largely unmined until now.

"[The Obama cocktail dress is] a slinky, body-hugging number crafted from the president's campaign posters," reports Suzanne Muchnic in The Times' Culture Monster blog. "As the 'fabric' winds around the body, from above the knee to below the armpits, white letters form a crisp graphic pattern on a black background and the name 'Obama' pops up over and over."

So does a built-in "recycle and reuse" theme that would resonate with our 44th commander in chief.  Muchnic says "the eye-popping dress" is a product of Judd's Recycle Runway company "that aims to transform waste into a valuable resource."

This ensemble, as well as other trash-to-treasure looks, is part of a one-day exhibition Saturday at Pitzer's Nichols Gallery in Claremont. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

-- Whitney Friedlander

Obama cocktail dress, from dumpster to fashion runway 

Pictures: A rundown of Barack Obama merchandise

Pictures: Michelle Obama, fashion icon

Designers with a 'green' vision

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Photo: Nancy Judd modeling the "Obama cocktail dress." Credit: Pitzer College

Michelle Obama gets all dolled up in newest 'flatwear' collection


The folks who gave us the presidential candidate paper dolls last year released a new book last month titledRage_obama_Narciso "President Barack Obama and His Family Paper Dolls: The Inaugural Edition." And while he may be the commander in chief on paper, the star of these pages is Michelle Obama (and to a lesser extent Sasha and Malia, who were given scant attention in the earlier book).

Among the six outfits included (the girls share four looks, the president himself has six, most of which are variations on his Hart Schaffner Marx suits) are the J. Crew cardigan, Italian Deco tank top and sheath skirt outfit Mrs. O was wearing on her Oct. 27, 2008, appearance on "The Tonight Show," the black-on-red Thakoon number she wore to the Democratic National Convention acceptance speech, her Jason Wu-designed silk chiffon inaugural ball gown, and the sunshine-yellow, custom-made Isabel Toledo dress and Jimmy Choo shoes she wore to the inauguration.

But our favorite is "Plate 8": the red-and-black satin Narciso Rodriguez dress and Loree Rodkin diamond bangle bracelets and earrings she was wearing on election night in Chicago. 

And maybe it's  just us, but Mrs. Obama looks pretty good on paper.

-- Adam Tschorn

"President Barack Obama and His Family Paper Dolls: The Inaugural Edition," by Tom Tierney (Dover Publications April, 2009).

Photos: The Obama family in Chicago's Grant Park on November 4, 2008. Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images. At right, the paper doll version of Michelle Obama's outfit from the same night as depicted in "President Barack Obama Paper Dolls."


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Should Obama jettison the jacket on 'Tonight Show'?

barack obama to be on jay leno barack obama california

After our cousin blog The Dish Rag posted the news that our commander in chief would be making a presidential pit stop on "The Tonight Show," we got to wondering how he might be dressed (yup, that's what we do over here at the Rage).

The Obamas have already been the recipients of more than their fair share of sartorial sniping since taking up residence in the White House, from her bare arms to his graying temples and everything in between. But few things have drawn more wardrobe wailing from the previous administration than President Obama's Oval Office business casual attire -- jettisoning the jacket, rolling up the sleeves and taking off the tie (even though photos of dressed-down Bush surfaced just a short time later).

So what's No. 44 going to wear on the NBC sound stage when he takes a seat on the couch? When he last appeared -- as candidate Obama -- he wore a white button-front dress shirt and navy blue suit. Will he -- and more important, should he -- do the same or does his new job mean he has to kick it up a notch and wear a necktie?

Or perhaps he should forgo the tie and the jacket -- and roll up his shirtsleeves like he did on the campaign trail when he was trying to get his message out to Johnny Lunch Bucket in the Rust Belt; a way of telling us he's hard at work on bailing out the U.S. economy.

The way I see it, anything short of those high-waisted Drew Peterson jeans are fine by us -- as long as he's keeping his eye on the ball.

What do you think?

-- Adam Tschorn


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Photo: Then-Sen. Barack Obama on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" on Oct. 17, 2007. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press.


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