If you follow lots of fashion people on Instagram, you've probably noticed that a good number of them were sharing photos from the same fancy location on Wednesday — and for once, it wasn't a palatial venue at Paris Fashion Week.
Industry leaders like Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, Jenna Lyons and hundreds more headed to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to take part in a massive event hosted by Michelle Obama at the White House to celebrate fashion, as well as to teach a new generation of students about what it takes to make it in the industry. This portion was a part of the FLOTUS's Reach Higher initiative, which is meant to inspire young people to complete their education.
It looks like Obama is really putting her money where her mouth is when it comes to teaching the importance of fashion education: She wore a dress designed just for her by 29-year-old Natalya Koval, a FIT student who won a competition overseen by the White House, to Wednesday's fashion workshop (see above). Her design was one of two chosen from 26 sketches, and all of the students who participated received guidance from designer Lela Rose.
The day kicked off with a panel discussion and intimate workshops — Zac Posen taught aspiring fashion designers about draping on mannequins with real fabrics and Anna Wintour spoke on fashion journalism — and to cap it off, the designers, publicists, editors and other industry folk were invited to a cocktail party in the East Room to mingle with Obama herself. According to WWD, the FLOTUS expressed her gratitude to the designers in the room for dressing her during her time in the White House, and gave special thanks to her unofficial in-house stylist, Meredith Koop, who has helped build many of Obama's fashion relationships.
Speaking of relationships, Obama wore a dress by Oscar de la Renta to the cocktail party, a designer whose clothes Obama has famously never worn. De la Renta has been an outspoken critic of Obama's fashion choices in the press, censuring her in 2013 for not wearing an American designer to a state dinner to welcome the Chinese Prime Minister, and in 2009 for wearing a J. Crew cardigan to meet Queen Elizabeth. Obama chose an embroidered navy dress from De la Renta's fall 2014 collection (see below). We can't think of a better peace offering than that.
Note: This story was updated to reflect that Michelle Obama wore a dress by FIT student Natalya Koval at the White House on Wednesday.