We take it for granted that we’re never going to be able to stop comparing Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton. So last night, when former Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Kate Betts presented her new book about the first lady to an intimate group of people at the New York Public Library, we couldn’t help but ask what she thinks about the future queen of England — and what she’ll wear on her wedding day.
But we didn’t get to do that right away. Betts (who book is called Everyday Icon) first moderated a panel discussion with designers Peter Soronen, Sophie Theallet and Rachel Roy, all of whom have dressed the first lady, and Patrica Mears, deputy director of the Museum at FIT. The group talked for about an hour about why style matters for first ladies, addressing everything from Mary Todd Lincoln‘s diva shopaholic tactics to Hillary Clinton‘s sometimes unfortunate-looking pantsuits.
The designers agreed that having the first lady select one of their garments is, as Roy put it, “the biggest honor,” but Betts doesn’t think that Middleton’s impact on designers has been fully tested yet. In other words, we’re not ready to compare her to Obama.
“I think she’s very individual in her situation and her position, and so it’s hard to compare her to anybody else. Obviously Kate Middleton is another style icon in waiting. We don’t yet know what her style is. So I think that Kate Middleton is very different because she’s a royal, and royalty and democracy are two very obviously different approaches to the position. And style means very different things for those two different postions. But I think obviously people will be watching Kate Middleton, especially on her wedding day.”
And Betts bets Middleton will be wearing two very modern designers when she walks down the aisle and celebrates her newfound princess-hood.
McQueen rumors notwithstanding, we think Beckham is a really interesting pick — but it makes sense. As far as we can tell, Beckham is the only designer who’s been invited to the wedding. Betts just might be on to something.