- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2009

They’ve got the look

Vanity Fair’s highly anticipated 2009 International Best Dressed List is out and making history.

The fabled roster, which for decades has been read with interest by everyone who’s anyone in international society, includes the president and first lady together for the first time ever.

Michelle Obama, the first presidential spouse since Nancy Reagan to be listed, has “a consistency to her style. Hillary Clinton changed her hair and her style all the time, but Mrs. Obama got a record number of nominations,” explains Vanity Fair special correspondent Amy Fine Collins, who has been working on the list since the early 1990s.

She tells us Vanity Fair solicits 2,000 “fashion-industry journalists, retailers and insiders” for nominations, and a committee then whittles down the nominations to ten women, ten men and a handful of best-dressed couples.”

Although Mrs. Obama’s right-hand woman, Desiree Rogers, the stylish White House social secretary, received “a significant number of nominations,” she did not make the cut. “I don’t think she is known enough. She is not that high-profile outside New York and Washington yet,” Ms. Collins says.

Well, there’s always next year, Desiree!

Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also is in absentia.”

“She’s well-groomed and an important political figure, but her style is not imitated or watched. It’s conventional for women in Washington,” Ms. Collins says. Ouch!

Apparently, though, “conventional” is OK if you’re the prez. Ms. Collins praised President Obama’s “classic, all-American style.”

But what about those baggy jeans?

“I think he’s gotten a bum rap,” Ms. Collins explains, apparently unaware of the pun.

“I don’t want to see our president in tight jeans. He’s got a natural elegance and grace. He’s relaxed and casual,” Ms. Collins notes.

Some other politicos did make the list, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his supremely chic gal pal, Diana Taylor, who returns from last year.

Finally, no list of global fashionistas would be complete without Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicholas Sarkozy. Ms. Collins describes the model-turned-singer-turned-political-consort as “embodying postmodern femininity. She takes on multiple personas.”

On reflection, Ms. Collins adds, “Isn’t it odd that we have a French supermodel who is trying to be a first lady and an American first lady who is trying to be a supermodel?”

Gold standard

Speaking of style setters, we hear the National Portrait Gallery has been graced with items from one of the silver screen’s most famous sirens.

Four of Katharine Hepburn’s best-actress Academy Awards went on display Tuesday on the third floor in the permanent exhibition “Twentieth-Century Americans,” near Miss Hepburn’s 1982 portrait by Everett Raymond Kinstler.

Miss Hepburn, dubbed the “Great Kate” by her legion of fans, received more golden statuettes than any other actress throughout a career spanning seven decades. She received her first Oscar for 1933’s “Morning Glory,” followed by best-actress honors for “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in 1967 and “The Lion in Winter” the following year. Her last Academy Award was for 1981’s “On Golden Pond.”

Miss Hepburn died in 2003 at age 96.

Back on the court

G2 was yet again courtside Monday night at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, an annual Washington men’s tennis tournament and a major stop on the ATP World Tour, where we were joined on the sidelines by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, known as “the Muhammad Ali of tennis” for his striking resemblance to the boxing champ.

We spotted the 20-something Mr. T with his buddies taking in a match between Marc Gicquel and Jerzy Janowicz.

The Tunisian-born Mr. Tsonga — who is ranked seventh in the world and lives in France — was greeted by a French fan, who asked for a photo.

Much to the fan’s embarrassment, Mr. Tsonga declined, explaining that if he agreed to take one picture on the court, everyone would descend on him and disturb the game.

Oh, the gross injustice of celebrity!

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail undercover@ washingtontimes.com.

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