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Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Dress

By Anne Schroeder Mullins, Politico

My fabo colleague and work wife Helena Andrews gives Shenanigans her spiel on Michelle Obama's news-worthy dress that she wore this week on "The View." Hello, White House/Black Market! (Can anyone say stock soar?)

Andrews reports: For Michelle Obama it was just another dress that she grabbed off the rack “from this store that has all black and white stuff.”

She might not have known its name, but White House/Black Market -- the store where Obama got the floral black and white print dress she wore on Wednesday’s installment of “The View”-- could not care less.

“The minute it happened our call centers started receiving calls,” said Jessica Wells, director of public relations for White House/Black Market, a subsidiary of Chico’s FAS Inc., which owns Chico’s (a fav of View co-host Joy Behar) and Soma Intimates.

“Shortly there after women were actually coming in and asking for the dress and we noticed a huge increase in traffic on our website,” said Wells.

The dress is already on back order on the company’s web site just two days after Mrs. Obama appeared in it. It’s called the tank leaf print dress and it retails for $148 dollars. Fashion stalkers can call White House Black Market’s customer service at (877) 948 -2525 to tract down the dress across the country.

Wells said the company expects more to arrive in August or maybe September.

The dress’ designer, Donna Ricco, felt that her work had been vindicated in a way. “I think to be able to go into the store, for Michelle to find the dress, try it on, love it, and to be able to just wear it, speaks to what I’m doing every day,” said Ricco in a recent interview on the Today Show.

In the first quarter of 2008, Chico’s FAS reported a net income of $12.7 million down 73 percent with sales dropping 10 percent to $409.6 million from $453.1 million. But with an endorsement by a potential first lady, the store that sells “all black and white stuff” might see a turnaround.

In 2007 Michelle Obama was added to Vanity Fair’s coveted “International Best Dressed List” and style bible Vogue named her a fashion “It Girl” in its April issue.

“It’s very clear that people are interested in what Michelle Obama is wearing and the response has been tremendous,” said Wells. “I would say it’s a phenomenon.”

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