Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
When Michelle Obama wore a $17,000 pair of earrings by LA designer Loree Rodkin on Sunday night, she raised an ethical red flag, at least for LA Times blog All the Rage. The problem wasn't the cost of the earrings, because Michelle didn't pay for them—she borrowed them, celeb-style, from a Chicago boutique. "The next morning," All the Rage reports, "dispatches were dutifully sent out from the publicist for Rodkin to let the press know whom to credit for her ear candy. How very red carpet."
Which is precisely the issue. When a celebrity wears borrowed jewelry on the red carpet, she's helping the designer make taxable income. When the celebrity is Michelle Obama, she's presumably helping the designer make boatloads of said income. In the early '80s, Nancy Reagan had to swear she'd stop wearing borrowed finery to avoid charges of misconduct. Will Michelle have to do the same? More importantly, should she?
· Should Michelle Obama borrow clothes and jewels like a celeb? [All the Rage]
· Loree Rodkin [Official Site]