Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inaugural!

No one needs to hear from me that even those of us mired working in the Apple could feel the joy today...like the overwhelming sense of fellowship in the air after 9/11 but not united over despair! Who could have believed it?!

(The Mobile Azalea Trail Maids are onscreen now!)

I was slightly disappointed by some of the more pedestrian rhetoric of the speech, but that's probably more to do with unrealistic expectations than anything - the message was stringent and got across - and of course we wept...I was also very touched by Obama's heartfelt acknowledgment of the wait staff at the luncheon, and cried some more. And, in general, across-the-aisle fellowship makes me happier than almost anything. (That's what comes of growing up in a politically divided family!)I was relieved there were no boos for Bush - that we could hear, at least. I was tensed for it, and was glad optimism and sense of place prevailed. It was the right note to begin on.

Did you see the marine put out the special riser for little Sasha?

Did you see Bush I's fur hat, aptly described by GK4 Former Fiance as "cunning?"

Wasn't the Hall of Statues (or whatever it's called) creepy, a bit like the White Witch's garden?

Didn't that first luncheon menu from 1953 - creamed chicken, ham and potato puffs - sound delicious?

Didn't you like the mandatory oohing and aahing over the crystal bowl? (Which, besides its base, was pretty nifty.)

And wasn't the poem awful?

As Simon Doonan aptly said, it's trivial...but I've loved Isabel Toledo since reading her profile in The New Yorker - and do read it if you get a chance, it's inspiring in every sense of the word "romantic" - and was delighted she was Mrs. Obama's choice. (Prior to that I just liked the few frocks they carry at Barney's.) As to the getup itself, it grew on me: reminded me somewhat of a certain 60's cocktail ensemble I have (maybe I gave it to Eloise, actually) and the bow seemed ill-judged given the wind, but overall striking and interesting. Here's a bit that just came out on NewYorker.com:

Vitelio Toledo, Ruben’s father and the couple’s pattern cutter, was particularly proud to have worked on it. The seamstresses, almost all immigrant women, also took particular pride in participating in a historic moment. Ruben told me that they added a very fine inter-layer of pashmina to help keep Michelle warm on the dais.

To parse the design: It’s an outfit designed by a strong woman for a strong woman. The lace is intensely feminine, and a Toledo signature; the combination of a coat and dress is a statement of classical “good taste.” But the detail is edgy—the jewelled neck, the chiffon tie, the blurring of old-line definitions of what is “appropriate” for day and evening—that is adventurous, and shows, on Michelle’s part, real sophistication about current fashion.

Prayers to anyone felled by the stresses of the day...looking at you, Mssrs. Kennedy and Byrd.

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