Michelle Obama’s Book Tour Suits Are a Lesson in Fashion Diplomacy


As Michelle Obama embarks on the international leg of her Becomingbook tour, audiences continue to pay attention to her onstage wardrobe. (I mean, do you remember those $4,000 Balenciaga boots?) For appearances in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo, the former First Lady has worn polished, embellished suits. And though each one has been unique, they all have something in common—and it all goes back to her days in the White House.

Obama has continued to work with stylist Meredith Koop while promoting her record-breaking memoir. On a 10-city, 11-stadium tour in the U.S., she appeared in looks from brands like Givenchy and Karen Walker. Now that she’s gone abroad, though, she’s adopted a strategy that guided much of her wardrobe as First Lady: When traveling to a foreign country, wear a local designer.

In Copenhagen she wore Danish label Stine Goya. In Stockholm she chose a look from the Swedish Acne Studios. In Oslo she picked out a suit from Dundas, founded by Norwegian designer Peter Dundas.

Choosing pieces by local designers for a trip abroad, known in some circles as “fashion diplomacy,” is something the former First Lady and her stylist have believed in and embraced since their time in the White House. “We always take into account where we are going and that country’s cultural norms,” Koop told Harper’s Bazaar in 2016. “The goal is to pay tribute to each place we visit [while] never losing the spirit of the United States.”

Speaking of Obama’s book tour fashion, Koop told The New York Times last year: “You have to celebrate fashion but also be aware of the message people are going to take away. Fashion can bolster communications in the best-case scenario.”

According to local Norwegian news outlet ABC Nyheter, Michelle took the opportunity in Oslo to discuss xenophobia, the dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries, along with the importance of education.

“Change does not come from the castle or from the White House. It happens between people every single day,” she reportedly said at the event.

Michelle added: “Put yourself in someone else’s place and don’t be afraid of your neighbour.”

The mother-of-two is certainly no stranger to bold outfits, completely stealing the show at the 2019 Grammy Awards when she surprised the crowd by stepping out on stage in a wild silver outfit to deliver a powerful speech.

The former first lady looked sensational in the standout sparkly ensemble which included a silver blouse with billow sleeves and matching wide-leg pants. Michelle finished off the striking look with simple silver accessories and wore her brunette locks out in soft waves.

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