Sunday, October 11, 2009

Review: Mrs. O by Mary Tomer

Celebrated for her style and substance, Michelle Obama has transformed the role of first lady and become a 21st century icon, attracting attention from all over the world. The qualities so admired in her - intelligence, strength and charisma - radiate through her personal style, which has united accessibility with high-wattage glamour. The clothes, like the woman, feel both familiar and inspirational. Readily mixing high-end labels with more affordable brands, with a focus on craftsmanship and artistry, Mrs. O has elevated the notion of real value and ushered in a new era of "fashion democracy".

Building on the success of - the Web site that chronicles Michelle Obama's style - MRS. O: THE FACE OF FASHION DEMOCRACY takes a closer look at America's modern style icon, featuring more than 120 photographs of the first lady and delving into the back story of her clothes and accessories. It also goes behind the scenes with interviews from her favorite designers, including Isabel Toledo, Jason Wu, Michael Kors, Maria Pinto and Isaac Mizrahi.

Opening with a brief overview of Michelle Obama's early years, the book goes on to provide rarely seen photos from behind-the-scenes on the presidential primary trail through the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the monumental events of election night, the inauguration and early chapters of life in the White House. The final chapter hears the opinions of Mrs. O's adoring fans - giving the last word to the people.

Original photographs of Michelle Obama's most iconic looks, along with commentary from fashion experts, top off this tactile visual feast. Woven together with sketches and illustration inspired by the first lady, the book reveals the story of a new era of American fashion.

Received from the publisher, Hachette, for review.

I immediately thought of Jackie Kennedy when I started reading the book and viewing the pictures. The President and Mrs. Obama really strongly remind me of the Kennedys. Well, of course, I don't actually know much about the Kennedys from first hand experience since I wasn't alive then, but they have a certain look and feel to them that the Obamas have. And, really, how can you not admire a woman with her clothing "budget" who openly wears J. Crew and H&M?

The clothing descriptions were beautiful. You can tell that the author loves fashion the way Ina Garten loves food. There was such a Carrie Bradshaw reverence in the loving description of each garment and accessories. The language was a bit technical, but not overly so for the ordinary reader.

The book features nice profiles of the designers Mrs. Obama wears that help give the book substance and depth instead of it just being a picture book. And, thanks to Project Runway and Tim Gunn, I actually knew what an "atelier" was and didn't have to Google it!

Some of my favorite ensembles featured were the black and white Donna Ricco leaf print dress worn on The View and the Inaugural ensemble by Isabel Toledo worn for the swearing in.

I really liked this quote from Booth Moore:

That's a good style lesson for people - to find that one thing that works for you, and reinvent it day after day.

This one gets four stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I really liked the chronology of the book - it was well organized and beautifully presented. Also, the book was stunningly printed in a wonderful format on gorgeous, silky paper. While the text is a bit more geared towards hardcore fashion fans everyone will enjoy the photos.

= Really Liked It


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