A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a dress? Okay, so maybe no one’s going to write an entire essay on Michelle Obama’s red-and-black Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown, worn for the state dinner with Chinese president Hu Jintao. But because all eyes are on her (or because everyone’s a critic), it caused quite a buzz anyway.

One of the first to submit a complaint was designer Oscar de la Renta. In his latest critique on the First Lady’s fashion choices, he criticized her for wearing a gown from a British fashion house rather than one from a Chinese or Chinese-American designer.

My understanding is that the visit was to promote American-Chinese trade — American products in China and Chinese products in America. Why do you wear European clothes? [WWD]

According to him, Michelle Obama’s influence could give designers – especially up-and-comers – a serious boost.

One Vanity Fair political contributor praised everything about the dinner except for the dress, which he called “absolutely wrong” for the occasion. Rather unnecessarily, he said the dress “made her look gigantic” and overshadowed both Presidents.

However, MObama’s got her supporters too (New York TimesRefinery29), some of whom analyzed the dress with enough dizzying detail to remind me of Miranda Priestly’s speech about the color blue cerulean. The Daily Beast called it ”intriguing…symboliz[ing] the ability of a designer’s imagination to cross borders, connect different cultures, and ultimately express itself in a singular moment of beauty.”

Y.M. Ousley from Signature 9 addresses the critiques but keeps the message short and sweet: A woman wears what she likes and feels good in. End of story.

Did you think the First Lady’s fashion choice was a hit or miss? Was wearing red – a symbolic color in Chinese culture – enough of a nod to China? Does an outfit deserve so much critique?