What to Wear When ‘Hope & Change’ Fail You

Vivienne Tam FRTW2013It might surprise those of us in the Beltway, but there’s more to this week than the State of the Union. New York also has a little event going on known as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

With 80 designers showing collections over an eight-day period, it must be hard to get attention. Why not make a statement by printing a famous face on your designs?

Inspired by “hope & change” four years after everyone else on the planet, Chinese-American designer, Vivienne Tam featured a custom-made print with President Obama wearing sunglasses on in her collection. With a throwback to Andy Warhol, the designer created a pop art rendering of the POTUS in red, white and black.

“It just came to me. This hope and humor. It wasn’t about politics, I just wanted a new dialogue. I wanted to dress a woman with heart, who cares about what’s happening in the world, not just about fashion,” Tam told Fashionista.

After nearly five years of celebrities and artists fawning over the First Couple, how can you not be critical of Tam’s designs? While most designers cite some ethereal psychobabble as the inspiration for their collections, Tam’s pieces seem…flat. Getting inspired by Hope & Change is so 2008. Did she fail to come up with a better idea?Did her dog eat her final designs the week before? Did she think that 4 years was a long enough time period give it a retro nostalgia? Even fans of Obama aren’t sure about the collection:

…cool enough to actually wear? The jury is still out. We love Obama, but enough to wear a dress bearing his face? TBD.

Most likely, Tam came up with a not-so-subtle way to draw the attention of uber-Obama fan, Anna Wintour, the doyenne of the fashion industry and editor of Vogue. There’s also a good possibility that Tam is trying to kick fellow-Chinese designer, Jason Wu, from his perch as Mrs. O’s beloved designer. A quick search through the Michelle Obama fashion archives shows that Vivienne Tam is one of the few Chinese-American designers that Michelle Obama has never worn.

At least kissing up to Michelle is the best explanation for wearing a dress with a giant print of Obama’s lips and chin printed over your torso.



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