Michelle Obama wears Duro Oluwu
America’s First Lady Michelle Obama’s holiday wardrobe this year includes a vibrant, patchwork, folkloric dress by the London-based Nigerian designer, Duro Olowu. The dress, a funky, layered, smock-style, features at least five different silk prints.
Mrs Obama was photographed wearing the dress while out for dinner this week, with her husband, in Martha’s Vineyard. She has previously worn Duro Olowu’s designs in 2008 and 2009, and has long been a ‘collector’ of the newest and most eclectic brands on Planet Fashion, assembling a United Nations-style wardrobe since her husband was elected. Her fashion portfolio includes designs by the Taiwan-born Jason Wu; Thakoon Panichgul, who was born in Thailand; the Chilean-born, Maria Cornejo; Narciso Rodriguez, the only son of Cuban immigrants; London’s Erdem Moralioglu, who is of Turkish-Canadian descent; the Manhattan-based Naeem Khan, who was born in Mumbai; and the London-based Glaswegian, Jonathan Saunders, along with mainstream brands such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Oscar de la Renta.
Duro Olowu, 44, was born in Lagos and studied law in England, before switching to his first love, fashion, long having been inspired by the unexpected mix of fabrics, textures and draping techniques of the clothing worn by the women of his native land.
He launched his own label in London in October, 2004, and was an instant hit with his use of luxurious fabrics and vibrant, clashing prints. He won the New Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards in 2005.
Last year, he opened his own boutique in London, in Mason’s Yard, on Duke Street, St James’s, offering both ready-to-wear and made-to-order. Earlier this year he was given the International Designer of the Year award at the 2010 Africa Fashion Awards, in Johannesburg.
He has just been named as one of the six shortlisted finalists for the 2010 Swiss Textiles Award, which will be decided in November. Last year’s winner was Alexander Wang.
Other Duro Olowu fans include Princess Caroline of Monaco, David Bowie’s wife, Iman, and Thelma Golden, the director and chief curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem.