Vogue released its April cover today, which features First Lady Michelle Obama in a cobalt blue Reed Krakoff dress with plum-colored detailing and sporting the bangs that launched a thousand headlines.
Obama’s cover accompanies a story by Jonathan Van Meter that is less about the First Lady and more about the administration, though there are some details about her personality and their relationship sprinkled in. The cover and inside spread, her second for the magazine as first lady, were shot by Annie Leibovitz. She fronts the publication solo, and another Michelle-only picture within the article shows the statuesque First Lady with her hair in a low chignon, wearing a black Michael Kors sweater and ball skirt, and staring pensively out window in the White House’s Red Room. There is also a shot of her wearing the same Krakoff design hugging President Obama in the Red Room.
The striped tie he sports in that photo is apparently a style improvement. President Obama notes that one of his biggest changes since taking office is his wardrobe. “I used to only have, like, two suits,” he told Vogue, stating that his wife played a large role in the transformation. “Michelle’s like Beyoncé in that song,” he continued. “ ‘Let me upgrade ya!’ She upgraded me.”
The First Lady agreed, and gently chided him in front of some staffers. “Now, let me tell you: This is the man who still boasts about, This khaki pair of pants I’ve had since I was 20,” she told Vogue. “The girls and I are always rooting when he wears, like, a stripe. They’re like, ‘Dad! Oh, you look so handsome. Oh, stripes! You go!’”
The First Couple was interviewed at the start of the President’s second term. The article includes snippets about their life as parents, their marriage, and their vision for America’s families. Michelle’s last cover appearance was in March 2009, two months after President Obama’s first inauguration. On that issue, she wore a pink dress by Jason Wu, who designed both of her inauguration ball gowns.
That her photographed clothing seemed particularly Obamian is no coincidence–all of her outfits for the shoot were reportedly pulled from her own closet. Vogue made much of her oft-noted style, discussing how she “bucked convention by routinely mixing Thom Browne and Alexander McQueen with J.Crew and Target,” and stating that “she has inspired a modern definition of effortless American chic.”
For her part, Obama shared her fashion philosophy with the magazine. “I always say that women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves,” she told Vogue. “That’s what I always try to do…I also believe that if you’re comfortable in your clothes it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well. In every interaction that I have with people, I always want to show them my most authentic self.”