At JC Report, our main focus is to keep our audience informed and engaged with style discoveries from all over the world. From time to time, we receive kudos from our international readers for our reporting, but our coverage of emerging labels has been best complimented by the parallel wardrobe of First Lady Michelle Obama. Though we’ve featured most of the designers that Obama has worn this year, we were one of the first publications to cover Sophie Theallet, Jasmin Shokrian and Peter Soronen—a talented group of designers who were often overlooked by the iron-fisted gate-keepers of fashion. So now we’re wondering: has the First Lady been reading the JC Report?
Although Sophie Theallet had designed under the legendary Jean Paul Gaultier and served as Azzedine Alaïa’s design right hand for ten years, the French-born designer’s refreshingly non-trend driven take on femininity was trumpeted by only a small circle of plugged-in, niche luxury retailers, including Susan of Burlingame in California. We first ran the story in the summer of 2007, and soon, Theallet found herself on the pages of WWD, New York Times and American Vogue. Just recently, Obama wore Theallet’s black shirt-dress with blue and gold ribbons on the skirt to the unveiling of Sojourner Truth’s bust at the Capitol on April 29th, which will surely earn Theallet well-deserved wider recognition.
LA-based designer Jasmin Shokrian was one of the young upstarts who showed in New York in 2006. Her a/w ’06-’07 outing was the first we attended of that season, and she instantly regaled us with sculptural shapes and unconventional ruching for an intellectual effect. We’ve followed Shokrian’s career since then, and were pleasantly surprised when we learned that Obama wore the designer’s a/w ’09 black double-faced silk crêpe skirt two weeks ago—a move that should give Shokrian much buzz outside the conceptual fashion circuit.
Before we featured Peter Soronen back in 2006, the talented couturier was fashion’s best kept secret. Even though he was a favorite of stylists, celebrities, such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Reese Witherspoon, and players in the social circuit, Soronen’s work hadn’t been featured in many fashion publications. He’s since grown to do brisk business, and now with Obama looking glamorous and photo-friendly in his well-crafted frocks, the prophecy that he could be an American Valentino may just be fulfilled.
What’s also striking about Obama’s stylistic predilections is that she not only champions young talents—including Isabel Toledo, Jason Wu and Thakoon—but she mixes their wares with mass brands such as J.Crew as well as avant-garde players such as Junya Watanabe. We were so intrigued by her adventurous style that we even hit the streets for JCTV to learn about Ikram Goldman, the owner of the Chicago store where the First Lady picks up chic goodies. Like her husband’s democratic policies, this is the kind of populous approach that we’ve strived to cover on our virtual pages.