The fashion diplomat: what Michelle Obama wore on her book tour

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Arena tour for bestselling memoir was always going to challenge fashion convention

As Michelle Obama enters the final month of the global book tour for her memoir, Becoming, it would be remiss to comment on book sales – 10m since its November publication and growing – without discussing the optics of the tour itself. Most notably what she wore.

This week, in Paris, that culminated in a pair of striped orange pyjamas by the London-based, Serbian-born designer Roksanda, not yet on sale, that ticked two boxes. First, the colour, coral, the shade of 2019 according to the colour-matching system Pantone, and second, the mood. Part of fashion’s fastest-growing category – loungewear is worth £1.5bn, according to Mintel – pyjamas are a surefire way to promote a sellout arena tour hinged on intimacy.

“Michelle Obama’s character is all about authenticity and intimacy, so it’s an utterly deliberate choice,” says the fashion psychologist Prof Carolyn Mair. “A pair of pyjamas worn on stage makes you feel as if you are in a private moment even if you’re surrounded by 10,000 people.” They are also bang on trend as fashion’s relaxed power suit, and appeared on the spring catwalks at Dolce & Gabbana and Fyodor Golan.

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