Why Oscar De La Renta Was an Interesting Choice for Ann Romney's RNC Debut Look

For Ann Romney's big humanize-Mitt Romney/appeal-to-women/debut speech at last night Republican National Convention, she wore a fire engine red dress
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Leah Chernikoff
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For Ann Romney's big humanize-Mitt Romney/appeal-to-women/debut speech at last night Republican National Convention, she wore a fire engine red dress
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

For Ann Romney's big humanize-Mitt Romney/appeal-to-women/debut speech at last night Republican National Convention, she wore a fire engine red dress by Oscar De La Renta.

We'll leave it to the political pundits to determine whether Romney succeeding in humanizing her husband and appealing to the all-important woman voter, but it's hard to deny that she looked great and delivered her speech well--she was comfortable in that dress and behind the podium.

She paired the bold red frock with black pumps and gold jewelry--a safe choice, to be sure. Since Ann Romney was criticized for wearing a $990 Reed Krakoff bird shirt, she might endure more of the same for this look as it was undoubtedly expensive as well (Oscar's dresses run between $2,000 and $5,000 on average). But the choice to wear Oscar de la Renta is an interesting one.

While it's unlikely there was much forethought into Ann Romney's look other than that it looked great on her and fit within the political color scheme (only red or navy!), Oscar de la Renta is one of the few designers that fashion plate First Lady Michelle Obama hasn't really embraced. She's worn designs by his son, Moises, but for some reason hasn't added an Oscar cocktail dress to her rotation. (Though it's true, she does tend to embrace younger designers.)

And then there was that time, when Michelle Obama wore a red McQueen dress to the state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao last year, that de la Renta chided Mrs. O for not wearing an American designer. "My understanding is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade — American products in China and Chinese products in America. Why do you wear European clothes?” he told WWD. That little statement sparked a controversy that quickly spun out of control with the CFDA then issuing a statement expressing their "disappointment" with Michelle Obama's wardrobe choice that night. Michelle Obama was even forced to address it.

Again, this is likely all coincidence. The Romney camp probably didn't say, "Oh hey, Ann, you should wear Oscar because Michelle never has!" But it's interesting nonetheless.

Click through more photos of Ann in action.

Photos: Getty