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Archive for White House

Read-Along Guide to Elle’s September 2010 Issue: Part 1 via [mademoisellehannah.wordpress.com]

Elle US is by far one of my favorite magazines. Although I’m only a recent convert (Glamour and Seventeen used to be my bread and butter), I’ve fallen completely in love with the sophisticated yet relatable tone of the magazine. When the September issue hit newsstands, I knew I had to have it.

For the past week, I’ve waited until I’ve finished all my work – internships, gymnastics practice, summer reading essays, phone calls, and more! – before crawling into bed with my beloved copy of Elle and my journal. I’ve diligently recorded my thoughts, comments and potentially over-the-top praise and compiled them into a laughably long list to share with you. I present you with the Read-Along Guide to Elle‘s September 2010 Issue: Part 1, to be read in conjunction with the cover – page 226. So grab your copy of Elle and read along with me; if you don’t have your own issue, hopefully my notes will fill you in on the best of what the magazine has to offer!


The Cover: While the rest of the September issues have vibrantly-colored covers, I adore the simplistic black, white, and red color scheme on Elle‘s cover. Julia looks radiant!

Louis Vuitton ad: Although this ad has been out for awhile, I still love it. Beautiful clothing, beautiful models, beautiful photography. The image of three glamorous women simply lounging backstage is so inspiring!

David Yurman ad: Kate Moss can do no wrong. She looks stunning, as always. Isn’t that necklace divine?

Guess ad: This fifties-inspired shoot is just too cute! I especially love the eye makeup and headscarves. (The Elvis impersonator isn’t too shabby, either.)

Fendi ad: Above all else, just this one ad alone makes me want to be a Fendi girl.

Dolce & Gabbana ad: Goodness gracious. Scarlet Johansson, Marilyn-esque hair, the most incredible makeup, dark crimson nails, and a leopard print blanket. In love.

Jones NY ad: I’ve never been a Jones New York fan, but the setting of this ad is lovely. The train station’s incredible architecture reminds me of these photos on Cupcakes & Cashmere.

Page 60: The “Happy Labor Day” cocktail sounds delicious! (I’d do it as a mocktail – skip the tequila and St-Germain.) The recipe:

  • “2 oz. Herradura Tequila
  • 1/4 oz. lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 oz. St-Germain
  • 1/4 oz. simple syrup

Combine all ingredients, shake, and strain into an old-fashioned class filled with ice. Drink. Repeat!”


Ports 1961 ad: Where do I even begin? The metallic shift dress, the beaded and sequined belt, the matching headband, the mauve lipstick… Ports 1961 is incredible.

Tommy Hilfiger ad: See it here – I’m obsessed! The ad is overwhelmingly preppy and posh, with a slight ’70′s twist. (Think tons of camel, cable-knit, burgundy, popped collars, cashmere, leather penny loafers, scrunched socks, and plaid.) I’m currently in back-to-school mode, which tends to bring out my prepster tendencies. Bring on the knee socks!

White House Black Market ad:

To the lovers of the 4-inch and 4 figure heel, to everyone whose dreams are made-to-measure, to all those who’ve spent their savings to pay for their wallets, there’s a new way to feel beautiful. White House | Black Market.

Heeeeello! That’s me right there. I don’t know if White House Black Market is the answer to all my problems, but I love the text of this ad!

Juicy Couture ad: With the exception of a few velour hoodies in middle school, I’ve never shopped at Juicy. In my mind, at least, the brand is so irreparably tied to its tracksuits. But I adore the vibe of their ads – the just “I stumbled upon this fabulously eccentric elderly lady’s yard sale with all of my attractive friends” look. Even if I don’t care much for their clothing, I admire their ads!

Page 164: Natasha Clark reviews Juliet, Anne Fortier’s modern twist on the classic love story. I loved reading the original Romeo and Juliet, so I’m adding this to my reading list!

Page 175: I’m obsessed with purple nails right now. Sephora by OPI’s “Just a Little Dangerous” looks so perfect! It’s grape purple with just a hint of shimmer, the ideal alternative to the dark, plummy purple (NYC’s “Plaza Plumberry”) I’ve been wearing all week.

Page 178: Ugh, Bebe. There’s an enormous Bebe ad right by the train station (and, more importantly, right outside Neiman’s!)  in Copley Square, so I see this ad all the time. I can’t get over how they blatantly copied Prada’s S/S 10 hair and makeup. (Although, the pigtails and glossy orange lip look tacky here, not chic!)

Page 183: This Ray-Ban ad is so much fun!

Page 186: Here is Elle‘s masthead! Watch out, Elle: my name will be there one day!

Page 195: This Miss Dior Chérie ad is fantastic. I love everything about it, from the pink coat to the wide-eyed little French girl, to the oversized perfume bottle tied up in a silver bow. Now I’m intrigued, what sort of fragrance is Chérie? Sephora says,

“Notes of chic, green tangerine, violette, and pink jasmine mingle with soft patchouli, musk, and delectably sweet strawberry leaves and caramelized popcorn for a delicious scent that’s truly irresistible.”

I’m in the market for a new perfume – maybe this one is it!

Page 196: What a wonderful quote from Robert Myers. I included this one in my sidebar:

“There’s as much romance in coming to New York and fighting your way up in the world of work as there is in the dance between (or among) the sexes after work.”

Roberta Myers’ Editor’s Letters are just one of the (many) reasons I prize Elle above every other magazine. I could read her writing all day.

Page 198: One of my biggest pet peeves is the notion that an interest in fashion and intelligence are mutually exclusive. Not so! Elle reader Michelle wrote in,

“I have Prada shoes, an IQ of 147, and a college education.”

Amen, sister!

Page 210: Diane von Furstenberg is fantastic. Enough said.

Page 214: I love Joe Zee’s shoe fixation. He’s a man after my own heart!

Page 226: The feature on Opening Ceremony definitely piqued my interest. They popularized Topshop in the U.S., which makes practically makes them the arbiter of cool. Definitely a must-shop next time I’m in New York!

(All content produced by Elle US and scanned by yours truly.)

That wraps up the first installment of my read-along guide! Look out for Parts 2 – 5 coming soon…

xoxo Hannah





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The OpuluxeLtd.com Tribute to Über-stylish FASHIONGATE Scapegoat: The Forever Fabulous Ms. Desiree Rogers via [NYT]

via YouTube

Obama Social Secretary Ran Into Sharp Elbows

Globe Newswire

Desirée Rogers drew criticism for her high profile as social secretary in the Obama White House. More Photos »

By PETER BAKER

WASHINGTON — Long before the State Dinner party crashers and the tension with her White House colleagues and the strain in her relationship with the first lady, Desirée Rogers began to understand she was in trouble when David Axelrod summoned her to his office last spring to scold her.

Multimedia
The Rise and Fall of Desiree Rogers

Ms. Rogers had appeared in another glossy magazine, posing in a White House garden in a borrowed $3,495 silk pleated dress and $110,000 diamond earrings. But if the image was jarring in a time of recession, Mr. Axelrod was as bothered by the words and her discussion of “the Obama brand” and her role in promoting it, according to people informed about the conversation.

“The president is a person, not a product,” he was said to tell her. “We shouldn’t be referring to him as a brand.”

The confrontation that day between Ms. Rogers, the White House social secretary, and Mr. Axelrod, the senior adviser to President Obama, put at odds two longtime Chicago friends of the first family. And it foreshadowed a deeper, wrenching conflict that would eventually cost Ms. Rogers her job and tear at the fabric of the close-knit inner circle around Mr. Obama.

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The rise and fall of Desirée Rogers, the glamorous Harvard-educated corporate executive who brought sizzle to the State Dining Room but became a victim of a publicity stunt by a pair of aspiring reality show stars, is a tale familiar to almost any White House. A new president comes to town and installs friends he trusts, but inevitably some of them wind up burned by the klieg lights and corrosive politics of Washington.

While it has happened to past presidents, though, this was the first time it has happened to Mr. Obama, who prided himself on running a campaign free of the typical petty rivalries and personal subplots that distract other politicians. And it happened with a friend who at first was celebrated for personifying the fresh, new-generation approach that the Obamas promised to bring to Washington.

For Ms. Rogers, associates said the episode proved a searing experience that has soured her on Washington. She believes she was left largely undefended by the White House, by her colleagues, including Mr. Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and even her close friend, Valerie Jarrett. And while she is unwilling to discuss her story publicly, several associates shared her account in the belief that her side has been lost in the swirl of hearings, backbiting and paparazzilike coverage.

“As she put it, ‘They never lifted a finger to help me set the record straight,’ ” said one of the associates, who insisted on not being identified to avoid alienating the White House. “She didn’t get any help from Gibbs, no help from Axelrod, no help from Valerie Jarrett. Nobody came to her defense.”

White House officials who asked not to be named rejected that, pointing to instances where Mr. Gibbs and the others publicly defended her, even if it was not as vigorously as she may have wanted.

Asked for comment, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama’s press secretary, praised Ms. Rogers’s “track record of success as an incredibly successful leader of a team here that turned out 330 events over 13 months.”

The tension with her colleagues was building long before November when Michaele and Tareq Salahi, socialites from Virginia, managed to slip uninvited into the State Dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. Ms. Rogers’s hip style, expensive clothing and presence at fashion shows at first were seen as symbolizing a new Camelot but ultimately struck many as tone deaf in a time of economic hardship and 10 percent unemployment.

The White House eventually clamped down on her public profile. She was ordered to stop attending splashy events and showing up in fancy clothes on magazine covers. When Michelle Obama learned one day that Ms. Rogers was on a train heading to New York to attend an MTV dinner, the first lady told her longtime friend to cancel, associates said.

After the Salahi incident, these associates said Ms. Rogers was barred by the White House from testifying before Congress or giving interviews or even answering written questions. She was told she could not attend the Kennedy Center Honors, a major annual Washington event. And even her decision to finally resign leaked before she could secure a new job.

So Ms. Rogers is leaving the White House and Washington never having been allowed to describe publicly what happened that night four months ago. But in conversations with associates, she has defended herself by noting that she had positioned a staff member to greet guests at the East Portico landing just as the Social Office had sometimes done in the past. And she has expressed disappointment that her work at creating a “people’s house” for the first couple has been overshadowed by one lapse.

“It’s been very difficult for her,” said Amy Zantzinger, who was President George W. Bush’s last social secretary and has become a friend of Ms. Rogers’s. “And I think what can’t be lost is there are all these unbelievable events they did at the White House when she was there, particularly bringing in all the artists and musicians. I don’t think that’s ever been done before to this magnitude.”

Representative Peter T. King of New York, the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, faulted Ms. Rogers for not having a staff member at the outer checkpoint on the street and complained that the White House “just totally stiff-armed us” in terms of getting answers to what happened.

But Mr. King suggested Ms. Rogers was left hanging in the wind by the White House. “She was in a tough spot,” he said. “All of us in public life dread the screw-up which is going to come back to haunt you.”

Public life has singed presidential friends over the years with striking regularity, people like Bert Lance during Jimmy Carter’s administration, Vincent W. Foster Jr. and Webster L. Hubbell during Bill Clinton’s, and Harriet E. Miers and Alberto R. Gonzales during George W. Bush’s. Washington can be seductive and then destructive.

In some cases, they were ill equipped for the jobs they were given, unable to transform success in private life or smaller-scale politics to the White House. In other instances, the cutthroat politics proved too caustic to stomach. In the most extreme example, Mr. Foster, a law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton before he became deputy White House counsel, committed suicide in 1993 leaving behind a note saying that “here ruining people is considered sport.”

Off to Washington

A native of New Orleans, Ms. Rogers graduated from Wellesley College and earned an M.B.A. from Harvard University. She got to know the Obamas some 20 years ago through her husband at the time, who went to Princeton University with Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson.

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Ms. Rogers’s glamorous looks, fashion taste and on-the-town profile in Chicago obscured a fast rise through the management world, as she served as head of the Illinois lottery, then president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and finally as a senior executive at Allstate Financial. During the 2008 campaign, she helped bring in roughly $600,000, according to a person familiar with campaign finances.

Tall and striking, Ms. Rogers can easily pass for younger than her 50 years. She seemed to the Obamas to be a natural for White House social secretary. The first African-American to hold the job, she swept into Washington brimming with ideas for executing the Obamas’ vision of opening the White House to a wider circle of people, and became an instant magnet for attention.

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After taking an apartment in the same exclusive Georgetown building as her friend, Ms. Jarrett, Ms. Rogers quickly became a hot Washington draw. She posed for a spread for Vogue and later accompanied its editor, Anna Wintour, to Fashion Week in New York. Within months, other magazines came calling, including Town & Country, Vanity Fair, Michigan Avenue and Capitol File.

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But it was a spread in The Wall Street Journal’s magazine, WSJ, with the expensive clothes and jewelry provided by the magazine, that got her in trouble in the White House.

http://talkinstuff.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/desiree_rogers_wsj_magazine.jpg

Mr. Axelrod called her in for a long conversation about her interviews and photo shoots, warning her explicitly that she was flying into dangerous territory and that Washington loves to watch people become too big and ultimately crash and burn, according to people familiar with the conversation. Ms. Rogers noted that everything she had done had been approved by the White House. She viewed her trips to fashion shows and other events as a way to make connections in the creative community and find talent to perform at the White House.

But her profile was deliberately lowered. Mr. Gibbs, the White House press secretary, had already canceled a proposed photo shoot of Ms. Rogers wearing an Oscar de la Renta ball gown in the first lady’s garden, officials said. Michelle Obama’s new chief of staff, Susan Sher, more closely scrutinized Ms. Rogers’s public activities, to her aggravation.

Praise and Criticism

Amid all this, Ms. Rogers earned widespread praise for the events she organized at the White House, including a summer luau for members of Congress, a poetry jam and a Halloween party for 2,000 trick-or-treaters. She managed to put on 309 events in 2009, compared with 231 produced in the last year of the Bush White House.

“If you look at the totality of her time here,” said Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, “she did a good job of projecting a White House that was open, family friendly and classy.”

Shawnelle Richie, a Rogers friend from Chicago, said, “She is a multitasker of the first order.” Ms. Richie added: “She did a good job. If the impression is she didn’t, I think people are wrong. They’re misinformed.”

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For all the attention to Ms. Rogers’s photo spreads, Ms. Richie said, Ms. Rogers kept focused on the job at hand. “Glamour wasn’t a distraction,” she said. “If everybody were to look at her complete work and her history and her background, as opposed to an isolated event, they would see she was the right person for the job at the right time.”

The isolated event, of course, was the State Dinner in November, which in fact received near universal acclaim as an elegant, memorable evening until the next morning when the first reports of the party crashers emerged.

As she put together plans for the dinner, Ms. Rogers and her staff consulted records of two State Dinners held by Mr. Bush before leaving office. The records indicated that the social office in both cases sent a person to the East Portico of the White House, where the metal detectors are stationed for State Dinners, in case any guests are not on the Secret Service list. Her office copied that arrangement.

In the Spotlight

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At State Dinners in the past, though, the social office stationed a person, or even more than one, at the outer checkpoint. Critics like Mr. King faulted Ms. Rogers for not doing that. Still, the Secret Service acknowledged it was not supposed to allow the Salahis in without checking. And the officers on duty that rainy night as the long line of wet celebrities and power players waited impatiently did not check with anyone from the social office when the Salahis showed up.

The White House afterward issued a memorandum announcing the policy would be changed. In interviews afterward, both the president and first lady praised the State Dinner, with Mrs. Obama calling it “an outstanding success” and dismissing the gate crashers as “a footnote.” But she and Mr. Obama bypassed opportunities to defend Ms. Rogers. “I was unhappy with everybody who was involved in the process,” the president said. “It was a screw-up.”

Lisa Caputo, who worked in the East Wing under Mrs. Clinton when she was first lady, said Ms. Rogers had weathered the hothouse glare of Washington with grace. “She’s done a fantastic job of opening the White House,” Ms. Caputo said.

“She was put in a position where the spotlight was put on her in a different way,” Ms. Caputo added, “coming in as someone who was not a Washingtonian, coming into a high-profile senior role and being the first African-American in that role. The combination of all three makes it not easy. I would venture to say she’s had a larger mountain to climb.”



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