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Say It Ain't So, Mrs. O!

When Counterfeit Chic learned that Mrs. O, a website dedicated to following Michelle Obama's fashionable choices, had mistaken an H&M dress for a Narciso Rodriguez, the fashion world stopped turning for a moment.  Had the sartorially sophisticated future First Lady turned to knockoffs in an attempt to win over everywoman on the campaign trail?  And knockoffs of Narciso, no less, which are quite common in more than one sense of the word?

Happily, the alleged Narciso is not in fact a copy -- unless you assume that the use of horizontal stripes and a sleeveless silhouette is proprietary.  Take a look at the Michelle in the real Narciso (left) and in the H&M (right).  The Narciso has an empire waist (more easily visible here) rather than a natural one, a solid rather than striped top, no belt, an exposed zipper in the back, a deeper and more subtly curved neckline, and a completely different color scheme. 

 

Perhaps the Mrs. O site rushed to judgment on the mistaken assumption that Michelle had chosen Narciso again, rather than making a fast-fashion selection that might be a bit more politically palatable during the current credit crunch.  (Note to Michelle:  Creative designers like Narciso have to pay their bills, too -- Seventh Avenue needs you!)  No offense to the editor, of course -- the camera often can't capture quality, construction, and all the design details that would make an H&M dress hard to mistake for Narciso if examined in person. 

That being said, it can be easy for even a well-intentioned shopper to select a knockoff when looking for a bargain .  Without an encyclopedic knowledge of fashion, it's hard for a layperson to be sure whether that budget-priced beauty is a copy of an unknown designer original.  In this case, however, Michelle is in the clear -- and living proof that some women can make even an inexpensive dress look simply smashing. 

Thanks to my smart and stylish research assistant Ariana Lindermayer for the tip!