The Condescending French Fashionista and African American Style!

Oh, pul-ease, honey!

In what has been interpreted as an outdated and insulting move, a fashion blogger for the magazine’s site posted a piece about Michelle Obama’s sartorial prowess and the rise of a ‘black-geoisie’.

New York Daily News goes so far as to brand the magazine as ‘racist’. . .


To which one can only respond
in one’s best Bette Davis voice, “but ya are! Ya are…”

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From the Daily News:

When it comes to commenting on the Obamas and African-Americans, French Elle needs to fermez la bouche!

In an blog post titled “Black Fashion Power,” writer Nathalie Dolivo managed to insult American blacks as a whole while offering left-handed compliments to the First Lady Michelle Obama for taking on the Jackie O role in a “jazzy” way.

The writer imagines that the Obamas are the first to bring true style to African-Americans.

“In this America led for the first time a black president, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged to its codes [of\] streetwear,” she wrote.

Things get even more baffling when she dubs the Obamas the “black-geoisie” who dress “white” but still maintain their ‘blackness” with symbols.

For crying out loud! Race-fixated, much?

I may not think much of the president, but I’m often admiring of what Mrs. Obama wears. Loved the cobalt-blue number she wore for the State of the Union. She doesn’t always hit it out of the ballpark (few women do) and sometimes veers foul, but more often than not she nails it, and I love that she loves jewel tones and strong colors.

But to suggest that the Obamas are “the first African Americans” who manage to be fashionable? Unbelievable. Do French fashion folk have no memories?


Sammy Davis, Jr. was always looking great, always on the cutting edge of fashion!


Dorothy Dandridge knew how to wear anything!


Diahann Carroll — a consistently elegant plate of fashion!


Hello, Miss Holiday, care to reintroduce yourself to Paris? They seem to have forgotten you!


Lena Horne; yeah, baby, smoke that opera collar!


Eartha Kitt; come on! She’s Eartha-freaking-Kitt! When wasn’t she stylish?


Nat King Cole; always “natty”

For that matter, you don’t have to have a great memory to find African American style-masters:


Will Smith and Jada Pinkett; how fresh is that?


LL Cool J: pinstripes and a nervy hat. Love it.


Rep. Allen West; seen him in suits, tuxes and casual — always kills it.


P Diddy: always looks sharp — always bespoke, whether formally dressed or casual!

Nathalie Dolivo needs to get told. I bet you can think of others. Tell her!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Thomas R

    France itself took in several stylish or notable African-Americans. Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, etc.

  • fiestamom

    Condaleeza Rice. Don’t you remember those boots she wore? She always looked like a million bucks.

    [Oh, Lord, yes...the boots with the black skirt! And Poitier, too! -admin]

  • Mack Hall

    Standing applause (well, okay, sitting applause).

    Omit not the always elegant Sidney Poitier!

  • vicki

    Chances are you forgot Johnny Mathis!!!

  • jkm

    French Elle, you’ve been SCHOOLED (enseigné) by The Anchoress!

  • http://elizabethk-fthnfort.blogspot.com/ Elizabeth K.

    This is very funny, in a sad kind of way. At the risk of stereotype, I would say that stylish dressing is a hallmark of many of my African-American friends and family. Style setting, as well.

  • Ellen AAR

    Halle Berry. There aren’t too many celebs who always rock the red carpet, but she is one.

    I love nice clothes, but I hate the fashionista press.

  • fiestamom

    Anchoress, do you ever go to Tom and Lorenzo? They are fashion bloggers, I enjoy their comments/commentary on fashion and Project Runway. They have had two unbelievably disturbing posts about the new “serial killer” chic. Two men’s fashion designers shows last week in Paris showcased men in Hannibal Lecter masks (not kidding), and other probably sexually perverted full face masks. Talk about society and popular culture going down the drain. Sinister.

    PS- Tom and Lorenzo weren’t disturbing, they posted the disturbing pictures.
    http://tomandlorenzo.com

  • conservativemama

    Soul Train! Still alive on Youtube. Who didn’t love the Soul Train line? Great dancing and fierce fashion.

  • http://www.sherryantonettiwrites.blogspot.com Sherry

    If we were to stoop to Elle’s level and indulge in outdated and obviously incorrect stereotypes: The French insulted someone in an attempt to appear cutting edge, chic and above it all…film at eleven.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Ah, the French. . . can we finally admit they’re not the all-wise, stylish, fashionable trendsetters they like to pose as?

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    firstamom, interesting link. I notice, along with a lot of the other posters there, that the male models dressed in serial killer masks all appear to be—-black!

    Ahhhhh, the French! So knowledgeable! So classy! So. . . so. . . well, so something.

    It’s too much to hope, I guess, that they’re going to stop pushing them on us, as role models?

  • http://www.noodlingonit.com Kris, in New England

    The most gorgeous man of color anywhere, of any time, has not been mentioned:

    Denzel Washington.

    Nothing more needs to be said to refute French (h)Elle.

    [He's certainly handsome, but a great dresser? Not sure about that! :-) -admin]

  • http://www.noodlingonit.com Kris, in New England

    Anchoress – I give you Denzel Washington.

    [Not bad...:-) admin]

  • Anglican Peggy

    I second the motion for the oh-so-awesome Sidney Poitier. Anchoress, make haste to include his picture in the gallery of stylish greats!

  • j muenich

    Does the word ‘vanity’ enter into Michelle’s motivation and style? Perhaps, ‘worldly values’? She is using our dollars to steal the limelight in a most inappropriate way. She is not a good role model for blacks or anyone for that matter. I did notice that black dress she wore at the acceptance speech in Grant Park , Chicago.tho. It was black with orange -red ‘flames’ dancing across the breast and pelvic area. Diabolical.


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