FIRST THINGS FIRST: When Michelle Obama visited London and other European cities earlier this year, she was greeted with front-page photos and rhapsodic editorials about her outfits. That was not the case in Moscow. Coverage was minimal and tended only to include reports on presidential meetings.
Even the Russian fashion industry isn’t that wowed by the First Lady. “Her clothes are modest and neutral,” was designer Denis Simachev’s muted reaction.
Fashion insiders attribute the indifference to Obama’s outfits — favorites Jason Wu, Michael Kors and Narciso Rodriguez featured prominently on the Russian visit — to anti-Americanism. “It’s part of our state policy: America is our enemy, and everything about America is bad,” commented Irina Mikhailovskaya, the former editor of Elle Russia.
What’s more, Russian taste is for clothing a bit more, well, sparkly. “A lot of Russians think that when something shines, it’s beautiful,” said fashion historian Alexandre Vassiliev, with a hint of embarrassment.