But make no mistake: Rodriguez was already an established designer and sartorial tour de force before the First Lady was photographed wearing his dresses. With a fashion vitae that places him alongside the greatest designers of our generation, he's also won the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America Womenswear Designer of the Year Award twice. That's like the Academy Awards of the fashion industry, and Rodriguez is the only American to procure the honor two consecutive years in a row.
His reputation for creating exquisite dresses is well known among the fashion set, but it was on November 4, 2008 that Rodriguez became a household name. You no longer have to work in fashion to know who Narciso Rodriguez is and what his dresses look like. In addition to heightened domestic and international recognition, the designer unveiled his upcoming spring collection this past September, which was lauded by both editors and the public. Rodriguez also recently collaborated with eBay on a diffusion line of separates that are slated for a spring launch. The affordable collection (prices will range from $75-350) will be exclusively sold at an online boutique on eBay.
Rodriguez is the quintessential womenswear designer. He has a proclivity for creating apparel that celebrates the female form, and anyone who has worn a dress of his or knows someone who has can attest to this. See below to find out the veritable effect Michelle Obama's had on the designer's business, as well as an inside peak into his studio, looks from his upcoming spring collection, and how he plans to remain relevant in the current economy.
Rachel Strugatz: How has your life changed this past year?
NR: It's a great moment in my career personally. Michelle Obama is such an extraordinary woman and I was so honored she decided to wear that dress for one of the most incredible moments in history. It brought so much attention to my work globally because it was seen around the world. The response has been amazing - the blogs blew up and it was so controversial. For me, it was so exciting to see a woman take a chance and wear something out of the ordinary. It did bring my name to Middle America, but it wasn't just in the United States - it was a global recognition. People noticed - it was unapologetically black and red.