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First Lady Michelle Obama honors first lady of fashion Anna Wintour at the Met

'I’m here today because of Anna,' First Lady Michelle Obama told the crowd at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that had gathered for the debut of the Anna Wintour Costume Center.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images ‘I’m here today because of Anna,’ First Lady Michelle Obama told the crowd at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that had gathered for the debut of the Anna Wintour Costume Center.

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.

A Charles James retrospective is on display at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum. David Handschuh/New York Daily News A Charles James retrospective is on display at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Metropolitan Museum. 

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.

The Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met opened Monday, with much fanfare and many fashionistas in attendance.David Handschuh/New York Daily News The Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met opened Monday, with much fanfare and many fashionistas in attendance.

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.

Michelle Obama, in a long-sleeved floral Naeem Khan dress, speaks onstage at the Anna Wintour Costume Cente's grand opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Michelle Obama, in a long-sleeved floral Naeem Khan dress, speaks onstage at the Anna Wintour Costume Cente’s grand opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday.
Met CEO Thomas P. Campbell joined Obama, Wintour and Emily Rafferty, the museum's president, for the ceremony.David Handschuh/New York Daily News
Met CEO Thomas P. Campbell joined Obama, Wintour and Emily Rafferty, the museum’s president, for the ceremony.
Fashionistas flocked to the Met on Monday to join Obama at the opening of the Anna Wintour Costume Center.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Fashionistas flocked to the Met on Monday to join Obama at the opening of the Anna Wintour Costume Center.
Vogue's Hamish Bowles, Stella McCartney and Sarah Jessica Parker pal around Monday before the opening of the new $40 million Anna Wintour Costume Center.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, Stella McCartney and Sarah Jessica Parker pal around Monday before the opening of the new $40 million Anna Wintour Costume Center.
  • NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama speaks onstage at the Anna Wintour Costume Center Grand Opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
  • L-R Thomas P. Campbell, director and CEO of Metropolitan Museum, Michelle Obama, is Anna Wintour and Emily Rafferty, President of the Metropolitan Museum for a ribbon cutting for the Anna Wintour Costume Center on Monday, May 5, 2014. 
  • NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama speaks onstage at the Anna Wintour Costume Center Grand Opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
  • NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: (L-R) Hamish Bowles, Stella McCartney and Sarah Jessica Parker attend the Anna Wintour Costume Center Grand Opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. 

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“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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