Designer Alert: Michelle Obama Celebrates More Than a Great Outfit

Jul 24, 2009 2:21pm

ABC News’ Sarah Tobianski reports:

First lady Michelle Obama carried the president’s commitment to higher-quality education to an awards ceremony for prominent designers this afternoon, saying that design, though rooted in inspiration, is grounded in the basic principles of math and science.

“That future and our ability to solve the great challenges of our time will depend on how we educate and engage the current generation,” Mrs. Obama said just before President Obama unveiled the Race to the Top program honoring innovative schools. “That’s why the president has made such a strong commitment to ensuring access to high-quality education for all children, particularly in math and science."

The National Design Awards called the Oscars of the design world by a Smithsonian spokeswoman, celebrated its 10th anniversary with a series of seminars on interior, product, communication, landscape, and architecture design held at Smithsonian museums throughout Washington. 

Mrs. Obama said these events are crucial for children living in the nation’s capitol because being in the presence of great art and beauty adds to their learning and development.

“These kids who are living just six inches away from power and prestige and fortune and fame,” Mrs. Obama said. “We want those kids to know that they belong here, too. We want them to know they belong here in the White House, and in the museums and laboratories all over this country.”

Bill Moggridge, who helped design the first laptop computer, was the day’s big honoree, receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. Mrs. Obama referenced her own children in his honor.

“What would we do without our laptops?” Mrs. Obama asked to a chorus of laughter. “My kids would die. They wouldn’t make it through the summer.”

FLOTUS fashion watch: Mrs. Obama didn’t wear a design by honoree Fransico Costa for Calvin Klein, instead opting for a canary yellow Michael Kors ensemble – a capped sleeved jacket and matching skirt.

– Sarah Tobianski

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