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First Lady May Be Shopping for a Different Look, New Designer

July 12, 2002|VALLI HERMAN-COHEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Though First Lady Laura Bush has been known for her plain-to-the-point-of-dull style of dressing, she may be turning over a new leaf. Escorted by a fleet of police and Secret Service agents, she arrived Thursday at the 501 7th Ave. offices of New York designer Carolina Herrera.

If Herrera becomes the first lady's designer of choice, expect to see Bush in shimmery satin, flamenco ruffles and luxurious cashmere. The high-fashion designer's understated style would be a welcome departure from the stodgy looks that Bush has chosen previously from Arnold Scaasi, her mother-in-law's designer. Herrera is one of New York's most reliably elegant designers, and she's the best known and most au courant to be chosen by Bush. The first lady selected little-known Dallas couturier Michael Faircloth to design her inaugural wardrobe, but soon moved on.

Bush has gradually improved her style profile since moving to Washington. Many remember a dreadful plaid skirt suit she once wore. Perhaps Herrera will erase the memory.

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