The way the Associated Press is fawning over Michelle Obama and her supposed sense of fashion, you would almost think they were talking about Carla Bruni who really does dress quite elegantly and oozes glamor. To add to this absurdity, the AP also went out of its way to paint the Russian First Lady as frumpy. Um, advice to AP personnel; don't expect the Russians to go out of their way to help you in your stories in that country after that gratuitous slam on the wife of their president. First let us watch the AP's Catrina Stewart act dazzled over the "superstar glamor" of Michelle Obama:
MOSCOW (AP) - Michelle Obama brings her superstar glamor to Moscow this weekend as she accompanies her husband on his summit with the Russian president.
But the American first lady, who has wowed publics in the U.S. and Europe with her easy elegance and charm, will perhaps face a bigger challenge in winning over a Russian public that has scant respect for women who grab the limelight from their powerful husbands.
Following that buildup for Michelle, the AP putdown of the Russian First Lady:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's wife Svetlana is pious and discreet and met her husband while she was a schoolgirl. She supports charity and the arts, but has assumed no independent voice on issues facing the country. She dresses conservatively, lacking the edgy fashion sense that has attracted a nationwide following for Michelle Obama.
After that snarky observation, AP returns to viewing Michelle Obama with total awe:
On a recent trip to Paris, she impressed the fashion-conscious French with her chic designer outfits standing side-by-side with the country's former supermodel First Lady Carla Bruni. In Britain, she famously breached palace protocol by putting her arm around Queen Elizabeth II.
And to the AP, the Russian First Lady is simply no match for the "dazzling" Michelle O:
Michelle Obama's fashion sense attracts comparisons with Jacqueline Kennedy, and there is a Web site entirely dedicated to what she wears.
...Svetlana Medvedeva, meanwhile, has flitted between the shadows and the spotlight. She is liked by younger Russians, who follow her appearances at celebrity bashes and her frequent outings - hand in hand - with her husband.
She has acquired a reputation as a tenacious networker who helped restart her husband's career in the mid 1990s, and is said to play an influential role in his career behind the scenes. Trained as an economist, she gave up her own job to look after the couple's only child, born in 1996.
Despite all that, Svetlana barely breaks the mold crafted by so many first ladies in Russia before her.
She largely confines her public observations to carefully rehearsed speeches; she provides sympathetic interviewers with bland comments on womanhood. She dresses conservatively in tailored, pastel-colored outfits.
Your humble correspondent is hardly an expert in women's fashions but he sure knows when he sees true elegance so to keep things in perspective let us now take a look at someone with a real sense of great clothing and how to wear them.
Now that is true elegance and class!!! Take note, AP.