Robin Givhan

Robin Givhan

Inside Media: Robin Givhan on Michelle Obama

June 05, 2010

Guest: Robin Givhan

First Lady Michelle Obama is more than a prominent political figure. She is also a fashion icon for future generations, said Washington Post fashion editor Robin Givhan. And as the first African-American first lady, the spotlight on her is extra intense.

"Her mistakes will be magnified because of the intense scrutiny that she is under," Givhan said.

Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editor who moved from New York to Washington in 2009 to cover the first lady, discussed the book "Michelle: The First Lady, The First Year," a photographic journal in which Givhan provided the text.

Givhan said when it comes to fashion, Obama has bucked the trend of past first ladies. The "costumes" of past first ladies have generally featured rectangular outfits that avoided being "body conscious," she said. Obama chooses her clothes because they are "pleasing to her and not necessarily because she saw it as the appropriate thing to wear."

Givhan called Obama’s "modern, body-conscious style emblematic of the shift of the kind of first lady she is." She added that Obama is "engaged in fashion and engaged in the way it is changing."

Givhan also talked about fashion differences in New York and Washington.

In New York, she said, people are much more likely to be "enthusiastic about showing off their fashion savvy." In Washington, the "idea of fashion is not about standing out."

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