New School News

Parsons Alums Rule Inaugural Fashion

Photo courtesy of the Department of Defense.

After four years as First Lady, Michelle Obama has firmly established her reputation as an immaculate dresser and an influential force within the fashion industry.  As her husband was sworn in for his second term as our 44th President this past weekend, the public was understandably interested in seeing what she might wear, and which designer might provide it. The field was wide open: she picks clothes by an assortment of American and international designers, at both high and low price points—some that are new to the industry and others already established. There does tend to be one commonality, however: designers who have studied at Parsons have provided her clothes on at least two dozen occasions over the past four years.

Photo courtesy of The White House.

This weekend was no exception. Fashion alumnus Reed Krakoff started things off, with his design for The First Lady’s dress at her husband’s official swearing-in ceremony on Sunday.  Krakoff described the look of the dress as “hand-drawn Bordeaux shade on a bright navy ground, jacquarded and overprinted,” in an interview with USA Today. “She really epitomizes the Reed Krakoff woman,” he continued, “a woman of incredible strength and modernity and a woman who knows her own sense of style. That’s the most gratifying part of it. She’s the ultimate person to dress.”

The following day, at the public Inaugural ceremony, Mrs. Obama wore a belt by J. Crew, whose creative director is Parsons alumna Jenna Lyons, while her daughter Malia, wore a plum-colored coat also by J. Crew. Also on Inauguration Day, the vice president’s wife, Jill Biden, wore a gray coat and dress by American designer Lela Rose, an alumna of Parsons AAS Fashion Design program.

Finally, Monday night brought the moment everyone had been waiting for – the unveiling of Mrs. Obama’s gown for the Inaugural Ball. After days of speculation, it turned out the First Lady had again tapped Parsons alum Jason Wu, who also designed her flowing white dress for the 2009 inauguration. This time around, it was red, Collins’ first guess when he spoke with the News last week.

Wu was as excited and surprised as anyone. “”I can’t believe it. It’s crazy,” he told The Associated Press. “To have done it once was already the experience of my life. To have a second time is tremendous.”

Having the First Lady wear your designs – it’s an incredible experience that’s increasingly common for those who study at Parsons.

Take The Next Step

Submit your application


To apply to any of our Bachelor's programs (Except the Bachelor's Program for Adult Transfer Students) complete and submit the Common App online.

Graduates and Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Master's, Doctural, Professional Studies Diploma, Graduates Certificate, or Associate's programs, or to apply to the Bachelor's Program for Adult and Transfer Students, complete and submit the New School Online Application.