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Anna Wintour Costume Center Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony with First Lady Michelle Obama

Anna Wintour Costume Center Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony with First Lady Michelle Obama

And now it’s my honor
and privilege to introduce the first lady of the
United States, Michelle Obama. (applause, music playing) Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you all. Please. Good afternoon. It is truly a pleasure
to be here with all of you today as we inaugurate this
brand-new center in honor of our friend Anna Wintour. I want to start
by thanking Tom for that very brief
introduction. It’s to the point. But more importantly
for his outstanding leadership here at the Met. I also want to acknowledge
all of the elected officials joining us today,
and I want to thank Aerin Lauder and Harold Koda,
and everyone else whose generosity and creativity
and hard work have made this day possible,
especially Anna herself. Now, I know that Anna hates
being the center of attention. So this all is probably
killing her. But we love it. But the truth is
I’m here today because of Anna. I’m here because I have
such respect and admiration for this woman who I am
proud to call my friend. And I’m here because
I am so impressed by Anna’s contributions not just
to the fashion industry, but to the many causes
she shares and cares about, particularly this great
American museum. Thanks to Anna and so many
other dedicated individuals, the Met will be opening up
the world of fashion like never before. And that’s really the mission
of this new space– to show that fashion
isn’t an exclusive club for the few who can attend
a runway show or shop at certain stores. This center is for anyone
who is curious about fashion and how it impacts our culture
and our history. And we know that that
curiosity is out there. Previous exhibits at
the Costume Institute have drawn hundreds
of thousands of visitors, many of them students. And as we cut this
ribbon today, that’s really who
I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about all
of the young people who will find their way
to this new space. Now, maybe they’ll come
initially because hey love clothes
and they love shopping. But then they’ll learn
that fashion isn’t just about what we wear, but that fashion is also
a business. It is an art. It’s career that involves
science, engineering, accounting, marketing,
and so much more. Maybe they’ll learn about
the math behind Charles James’ designs,
and they’ll think to themselves, “Maybe I should pay
closer attention in geometry this semester.” Maybe they’ll think
about going to college. Or maybe they’ll learn
what it takes to succeed in the fashion industry,
how you need passion and grit and a fierce
belief in yourself and in your vision– traits that all of our
young people should develop. And then once they’ve finished
with the exhibits here, maybe these young people
will wander over to another part of this
extraordinary museum. Maybe they’ll spend
and afternoon learning about Islamic or Asian art. Maybe they’ll check out
the photographs, or view the endless galleries
of great American art. And maybe they’ll have
an even greater appreciation for art history,
or a newfound interest in a foreign language
or culture. So for our young people,
and for people of all ages, for that matter,
this center will be a source of learning and inspiration. And it will be a gateway
to so much more. So I think it’s fitting
that this place bears Anna Wintour’s name,
because that is who Anna is. That is what she’s about. Anna is one of the
most powerful leaders in the fashion industry. She’s one of the most powerful
women in any industry, for that matter. And that alone is such
a singular accomplishment. But Anna has never been content
just to achieve greatly in the fashion world. She has always used her power
for so much more, from working tirelessly
to end HIV AIDS, to creating
Fashion’s Night Out to boost the economy,
and to her incomparable efforts to support the Met. Time and again
Anna has sought the spotlight not for herself,
but for the people and causes she believes in. And today Anna and I are
actually working on an idea to bring students
to the White House for a fashion workshop. So I hope you all behave. Maybe you get an invitation. The idea is to show young people
what it takes to succeed, and how important it is
for them to commit to their education. You see, Anna understands
that those of us who’ve been blessed
with opportunities to succeed, have an obligation to reach back
and bring others along with us. And not just with words
of praise, but with meaningful, sustained support. That’s what the CFDA Vogue
Fashion Fund is all about. It’s about lifting up
brilliant young designers, not just with money but
with mentorship and connections, all of the things
they need to succeed and dream even bigger
for themselves. And that is really my message
to the young people here today. You’re here because
we want you to dream bigger. You’re here because
we believe in your promise and we know if you commit
to your education, if you work like never before,
if you have the courage to fail and fail and fail again
until you finally succeed, then one day you could be just
like the legendary designers who are here today. One day you could be a leader
in the fashion industry or in any industry you choose. And when that happens for you,
I hope you’ll look back and you will see
who you can bring up with you like Anna does. I hope you will use your power
to be an inspiration multiplier, like Anna, so we can
create more days like today. And I think Anna really said it
best when, during an interview, she was asked
what power means to her. And she replied simply,
“It is a wonderful opportunity “to be able to help others,
and for that, I’m extremely grateful.” Well, Anna, the feeling is very
much mutual, it really is. We are so grateful
for all that you have given back and we are so thrilled
to see your name on this wonderful new center. And we look forward to all
you will continue to contribute in the years ahead,
and with that, it is my pleasure
to help cut this ribbon. Anna and others, would you
please join me on stage? Thank you so much. (applause) (cheers and applause)

8 comments found

  1. Miss Wintour rightfully deserves this.  She has democratized fashion more than any fashion editor before her. FLOTUS did a great job as a ribbon cutter.

  2. What a wonderful speech, from one lady to another lady. Anna deserves this and more, she has been working for this great industry for so long, I can see that she was touched by Michelle's speech, very rare on Anna. 

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