The Narciso Rodriguez sheath Michelle Obama chose for election night has set the fashion world abuzz. The black-and-red dress—a less revealing adaptation of a frock from the American designer’s spring 2009 runway collection—was "a breath of chic air," LA Times fashion critic Booth Moore writes. But she's in the minority, says Ruth La Ferla of the New York Times.
The "widely held view that Mrs. Obama had exhibited a rare lapse in taste" points up the first lady-elect's role as a fashion icon, La Ferla notes. Her "tastes run from J. Crew to adventurous American labels." Obama, whose staff says she doesn’t use a personal stylist, “is not sitting around going through fashion look books and having confabs,” Vogue fashion honcho Andre Leon Talley tells the Times. “She is just going through her closet and picking out what’s right for her.”