Michelle Obama tipped her hat Monday to another first lady — fashion legend Anna Wintour — as she christened the Metropolitan Museum’s new costume institute named after the Vogue editor.
“I’m here today because of Anna,” said the First Lady, who donned a gorgeous green Naeem Khan dress for the ribbon-cutting on the Met’s new $40 million wing. “I’m so impressed by Anna’s contributions not just to fashion but to this great museum.”
Obama praised Wintour before a gaggle of fashion elite flocked in the Museum’s Temple of Dendur — and joked about the editor’s reputation for reclusiveness.
“I know Anna hates being the center of attention, so this is probably killing her,” the First Lady quipped.
But Obama quickly changed tone to focus on the significance and scope of the new institute, which took three years to complete, lauding the opportunity it provides for students and fashion enthusiasts to learn about masters such as mid-century designer Charles James, the subject of the first exhibit.
“This is for anyone curious about fashion,” she said, specifically addressing the students from Fashion Institute of Technology and the High School for Fashion Industries. “Fashion is a business and an art. You’re here because we want you to dream bigger.”
She added that they have full permission to “fail and fail and fail” until they succeed.
A who’s who of industry stars — including Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Zac Posen, Ralph Lauren, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and Donatella Versace — joined Obama to cheer the new institute.
“I think it’s amazing,” fashion photographer Nigel Barker told the News. He said James was the perfect choice for a first show: “It’s timeless, without a doubt.”
Harold Koda, the institute’s curator, called Wintour an “extraordinary advocate” to the Metropolitan Museum and to the fashion industry at large.
“Today is really about Anna,” he said.
Obama will not be attending Monday night’s star-studded gala — opting for two Democratic Party events instead. New York fashion fans will have to settle for such stars as Lupita Nyong’o, Zoe Saldana, Amanda Seyfried, Taylor Swift, Margot Robbie, Olivia Munn, Zooey Deschanel, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Lawrence and Katie Holmes.
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