When First Lady Michelle Obama stepped on stage on election night, the entire world was watching -- and fashion copy-cats were taking note. Last week, British retailer Asda unveiled their new line of George brand holiday dresses and "The Michelle" -- a $32 metallic red-and-black floral number inspired by the first lady's pricey Michael Kors creation -- sold out within 48 hours.
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"Our Michelle Obama inspired flower jacquard dress was an instant hit amongst shoppers," George brand director Fiona Lambert told The Daily Mail.
The party dress's popularity was no accident: It was designed and named after George and Asda shoppers chose Michelle Obama as the most-impressive female dresser, ranking her ahead of Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham. The entire fashion-icon inspired line -- the big box retailer's new Moda "Impress Dresses" collection -- launched on November 21, and sales have been brisk.
"'The Impress Dress collection has been flying off the shelves this week," Lambert said. "We're urging women to get their hands on their favorite before we sell through completely."
Asda -- kind of like a British version of Target -- carries everything from electronics and furniture to gardening tools and baby clothes. Their George clothing caters to their fashion-conscious (and money-conscious) customers, and the Impress Dresses feature plenty of on-trend embellishments like baroque details and lace trim.
"All women have an occasion where they want to 'wow' and the new Moda range caters for that moment in time when it's really important to make a fashion statement," Lambert said on the company's fashion blog, George Style. "Customer feedback told us that the over 40s age group especially felt that there was a lack of statement dresses out there for them and this new range caters to all shapes, styles, sizes as well as ages."
Michelle Obama's penchant for pairing high-end accessories with off-the-rack bargains is well known -- she wore a cute fuschia-and-brown dress from Target when she talked with Yahoo! Shine last fall -- and it makes her style much more accessible, something that bargain shoppers the world over can appreciate.
She's also not afraid to wear her favorites more than once. The first lady has worn the same Kors wine-colored brocade dress at least twice before, at a 2009 holiday event at the White House and in November 2010 at a Medal of Honor Ceremony in Washington, D.C. But the third time's the charm: It wasn't until she came out on stage to celebrate her husband's re-election that Asda started marketing their version.
We have to admit: Aside from the box pleats, high neckline, and cap sleeves, we don't think Asda's dress has much in common with Kors'; the shiny, bright-red roses are far cry from Kors' rich wine-colored brocade. But, as retailers were quick to learn with Kate Middleton, if it's marketed as something a fashion icon might wear, fans will snap it up -- especially if it's in limited supply.
"The Michelle" dress will not be restocked, Asda reps told the Daily Mail, making the sold-out dress an instant collector's item.