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Samantha Critchell AP Fashion Writer
Published: 05 August 2009

NEW YORK (AP) -- Barack and Michelle Obama edged out Hollywood stars on Vanity Fair's International Best-Dressed List.
The president made the list for the first time in issues that hit newsstands Wednesday, joining the first lady, who has been named twice before.
"I think Michelle Obama has cool style. She's not over the top. She's chic and she knows how to flatter her body and she always looks pulled together," said Stacey Bendet, founder and designer of the label Alice & Olivia, who made the list for the second time.
Rachel Roy, another designer who made the cut, added in an e-mail: "Michelle Obama is such an inspiration to me -- she has become 'the' style icon."
The Obamas weren't the only stylish political dressers named. French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy made the list along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his companion, Diana Taylor.
"The list is more political this year," observed Amy Fine Collins, a special correspondent for the magazine. "It seems a lot of the attention of the world is shifting to political and government leaders as opposed to just the Hollywood figures. The best evidence of that is in the Obamas."
No longer on the list is Angelina Jolie, although her husband Brad Pitt remains, based on the poll of fashion insiders. Other stars getting the honor are Penelope Cruz, Anne Hathaway, NBC correspondent Tiki Barber and James Bond star Daniel Craig.
Other fashion types on the 69-year-old list, which Vanity Fair inherited from the late fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert: Tory Burch, Georgina Chapman, designer of Marchesa, and David Lauren, son of Ralph Lauren. Bendet most admires the style of model Natalia Vodianova, who was honored alongside her husband, artist Justin Portman.
It's flattering -- and prestigious -- to be in such company, Bendet said. "Im sort of amused by it. Everyone else is photographed with couture gowns, I'm a little funkier -- a downtown girl."
New inductees to the Hall of Fame include actresses Catherine Deneuve and Renee Zellweger.
"Catherine Deneuve's style has influenced for decades. ... Women of her age now still look to her for ideas of how to present themselves as a woman of style and elegance, and younger women are watching her movies and taking cues from her," Fine Collins said. Meanwhile, Zellweger, "a newcomer by comparison," has had very few slip-ups in her years under the microscope.

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