First Lady Michelle Obama graced the Inauguration Ball with the work of not only one, but two Asian designers. Mrs. Obama wore a ruby-red chiffon and velvet gown which was custom-made by designer Jason Wu. The delighted Wu was also the designer Obama chose back in 2009. Michelle Obama’s decision of Jason Wu was career-making and his work has since then been in collaboration with Target and Nordstrom.
You may also catch glimpses of the matching red shoes Mrs. Obama chose for the Inauguration. She decided to accessorize with Jimmy Choo shoes who’s founder is from Penang, Malaysia. The entire outfit has people raving that this First Lady has quite the eye for fashion.
Just out: the White House announced that Chinese American Tina Tchen has been promoted to Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady.
The First Lady released this statement:
“I am thrilled to welcome Tina to my team. I have admired her work with the White House Council on Women and Girls and her leadership with the Office of Public Engagement. Tina’s tenure at the White House has focused on ensuring that communities across the country have a voice and a presence at the White House, and her office has worked closely with mine to develop many of our outreach efforts, so she was the natural choice for this role. We particularly share a commitment to nurturing young women and utilizing the White House as a platform for education and inclusion, and I look forward to continuing that work together.
“When selecting a replacement, I looked for someone who had the right experience to lead my team and am grateful to bring on Tina, whom I’ve known and respected for 20 years. Tina’s success leading the Office of Public Engagement, reaching out to people across the country and encouraging Americans from all walks of life to feel connected to this White House, makes her uniquely qualified to step up to this position. I look forward to working with her in the years ahead to develop effective strategies for the Let’s Move! campaign, to broaden our work on behalf of military families, to continue the arts and cultural events in the White House, and to advance our international agenda.”
Tchen began her work for the President and First Lady during the 2008 campaign. Prior to that, Tchen was a partner at the Chicago office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, where she worked for 23 years in corporate litigation, representing public agencies including the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), the Illinois Department of Public Aid and the Chicago Housing Authority.
With the year winding down, Audrey Magazine has narrowed down some greats of 2010.
It’s been a big year in fashion. Not only did the supremacy of Asians and Asian Americans in fashion get the official CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund stamp of approval (Richard Chai, Alexander Wang and Jason Wu all won this year; Prabal Gurung was a runner up for the Fashion Fund), but Wu, Gurung, Thai American designer Thakoon, and Indian designer Naeem Khan were all First Lady picks for important events.
Relative newcomer Joseph Altuzarra may have been beat by Jason Wu for the Swarovski Award for Womenswear, but the French designer (his mother is Asian American, his father is French) is getting major buzz, especially with his recent appearance in Vogue‘s November issue. (Hello cutie!)
As for the women, Anna Sui had a big anniversary (the big 3-0), releasing her first ever retrospective coffee table book. Vera Wang celebrated her 20th anniversary with the release of a special fragrance, Vera Wang Anniversary. Designer milliner Eugenia Kim hit the big time with her hat collection collaboration with Target. And Chinese-Brit Alexa Chung became fashion’s It girl, launching her own collection for Madewell and single-handedly bringing prep back into the fashion lexicon.
Internationally, Jakarta Fashion Week joined the slew of Asian cities showing off their sartorial talent, including Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, New Delhi, Mumbai and Shanghai. Korean designers are particularly catching the industry’s attention, with Concept Korea showing at New York Fashion Week for Spring 2011, and Korean designer Lee Jean Youn winning international label Mango’s second annual Fashion Awards.
And it doesn’t look like the Asian fashion invasion is gonna slow down any time soon. A whole slew of Asian and Asian American designers are being tapped for collaborations and to head major fashion houses, including:
* Filipino American handbag and shoe designer Rafe Totengco, known for his line Rafe New York, has been appointed creative director of handbags at Jones Apparel Group, Inc., a mega-company whose brands include Nine West, Stuart Weitzman, Anne Klein, Jones New York, among others. (He just received the Presidential Award from Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III last week.)
* Luxury linens company SFERRA is collaborating with Peter Som to create a luxury home collection. Inspired by his signature prints from his runway collections, Som’s collection will encompass everything from bedding to tabletop. The collection will debut in January.
* Richard Chai has been tapped to create an exclusive, limited-edition menswear collection for Original Penguin, to debut in February. The full Richard Chai for Original Penguin line will debut for fall 2011.
* Target’s Go International Designer Collective, which will launch March 13, features designs by Richard Chai and Thakoon, among other past Target collaborators.
The fashion forecast for Asian representation in 2011? So on trend.