Fashion Forward or Clothing Faux Pas?


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by Kristin Marino
Fashion School Review Columnist

December 8, 2006


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Imagine how exciting it would be to receive an engraved invitation to attend a fancy White House holiday party. You might even spend a bit of dough to buy a designer gown. Would you be disappointed if three other women showed up in the exact same clothing? What if one of those three women was the First Lady?

The fashion in question was a red tulle jacket and floor-length trumpet skirt designed by renowned fashion designer Oscar de la Renta with a price tag of $8,400. Not only did Mrs. Bush wear it to the reception at the White House, she wore it in the official 2006 Christmas photograph of her and President Bush.

As the women wearing the same fashion showed up at the White House, the news spread like wildfire through the party. To avoid embarrassing her guests, Mrs. Bush went upstairs and changed into a black lace design. But the faux pas begs the question: How could this have happened?

Mrs. Bush's first mistake might have been having her clothing stylists buy her gown "off the rack." Being a Texan, Mrs. Bush is known for being down to earth, but what were those clothing stylists thinking? No doubt it would have taken one call to Mr. de la Renta himself to ensure she had a dress unlike any other. Maybe she's not fussy when it comes to fashion design...at least not as fussy as Jacqueline Kennedy. She made absolutely sure that nobody wore the same dress as her during the dress's season. It's hard to imagine one of the 20th Century's fashion icons going upstairs to change.

There are two options for the fashion stylist when dressing a famous woman. If you are going to dress your client from a fashion designer's pret a porter collection, ask the designer to make the dress in a color that won't appear in stores. The other option is to have a one-of-a-kind dress made for the client. It's hard to know if fashion designer Oscar de la Renta was flattered or mortified.

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About the Author
Kristin Marino is obsessed with haute couture, even though she lives in Reno, Nevada, where you can't even get Gucci or Louis Vuitton, let alone Jimmy Choo. She has a Bachelor of Art in English Composition from the University of Nevada.

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