- - Wednesday, November 7, 2012

As Michelle Obama stepped onto the stage with her husband in Chicago early Wednesday, she accepted her role not only as first lady, but also as fashion tastemaker for four more years – this time wearing a Michael Kors magenta silk chine pin-tucked dress.

As Mrs. Obama joined President Obama, she sported a dress pulled in at the waist, and she topped it with a black shrug that showed a peek of a vintage pink brooch from House of Lavande, The Associated Press reports. She was surrounded by her trend-right daughters: Malia wore an electric-blue, A-line skirt with a pink studded belt that looks like the teen version of the first lady’s signature Azzedine Alaia belt, and Sasha had on an abstract-print green skirt with a gray bow-front top and mimicked her mother’s shrunken-cardigan look.

Mrs. Obama has been a reinvigorating force for the fashion industry, including her late-night online J. Crew purchases and her savvy courtship with up-and-coming designers such as Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu. Mr. Kors has been a consistent label in her wardrobe, with Mrs. Obama wearing a black, racer-back dress by the designer in her official White House portrait, as well as a hot-pink gown for a White House Correspondents’ Association dinner and a red halter gown at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Awards dinner.

The Council of Fashion Designers of America gave Mrs. Obama its Board of Directors Special Tribute award in 2009 for her influence in the industry.

Four years ago on election night, Mrs. Obama wore a straight-from-the-runway black sheath dress with splashes of red by Narciso Rodriguez.

‘Irreconcilable differences’ end Civil Wars tour

Grammy-winning duo the Civil Wars have canceled their upcoming tour dates, citing irreconcilable differences.

The folk-pop duo Joy Williams and John Paul White released a statement Tuesday announcing that because of “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” they were unable to “continue as a touring entity at this time,” The Associated Press reports.

Although they used the language of divorce, the duo added, “Our sincere hope is to have new music for you in 2013.”

Miss Williams and Mr. White are married, but to other people. Miss Williams had a baby this summer with husband Nate Yetton, the duo’s manager.

Earlier this year, the pair canceled part of their European tour.

The duo found unexpected success with their 2011 debut album, “Barton Hollow.” With backgrounds in gospel and rock, they met when both were asked to contribute to a country project and found chemistry.

Back then, the pair framed their partnership in terms of courting. Mr. White told AP that after two songwriting sessions, “I finally got up the nerve to ask her out, as it were.”

“In a musical way,” Miss Williams said.

Taylor Swift overwhelmed by response to new album

Taylor Swift said the response to her latest album, “Red,” has been “unbelievable.”

The singer was speaking Tuesday at Westfield London shopping mall, where she was switching on the Christmas lights, according to The Associated Press.

Speaking after the big moment, Miss Swift said: “I had hoped that my fans would get what I was doing there – that they would embrace it. And the fact that they celebrated that and 1.2 million of them went out and bought it the first week and it became my first U.K. No. 1 album, it is absolutely unbelievable.”

The Grammy winner rewarded her British fans at the event by performing songs including her hit from the album, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

Harrison Ford may be open to playing Han Solo again

Veteran actor Harrison Ford could reprise his role as Han Solo in “Star Wars” in a movie set for release in 2015 after Disney bought the studio behind the sci-fi saga, a report said.

The 70-year-old previously has appeared cool on the character he played in the first three “Star Wars” movies, but he has not ruled out returning for what will be the seventh movie in the series, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“Harrison is open to the idea of doing the movie and he’s upbeat about it, all three of them are,” a “highly placed” source told the magazine, referring to Mr. Ford and fellow actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, Agence France-Presse reports.

Mr. Ford found fame in the first “Star Wars” movie in 1977, and played his part again in the second and third installments, which made up the initial trilogy.

He did not appear in the second trilogy, made between 1999 and 2005, and has been generally dismissive of Han Solo. “As a character, he was not so interesting to me,” he told an ABC interviewer in 2010.

Entertainment Weekly said in its Monday report that Mr. Ford – who went on to big-screen success, including megastardom in the blockbuster “Indiana Jones” movies – will not commit to the new “Star Wars” film until a director and script are confirmed. Either could be a deal breaker, it said.

Lady Gaga donates $1 million to Sandy relief efforts

Lady Gaga is donating $1 million to the Red Cross as a gesture to those affected by Superstorm Sandy.

The New York-born singer posted on her blog Wednesday that she is pledging the money on behalf of her parents and sister, The Associated Press reports. She also said she “would not be the woman or artist that I am today” if it weren’t for places such as the Lower East Side, Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

She wrote, “Thank you for helping me build my spirit. I will now help you rebuild yours.”

Superstorm Sandy made landfall last week, killing many of its more than 100 victims in New York City and New Jersey and leaving millions without power.

Lady Gaga added that New York is a place full of “relentless ambition.”



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