07/07/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Rick Owens, Michelle Obama Favorite, Said No To Met Gala

Rick Owens, one of Michelle Obama's go-to designers, declined to attend Monday's Met Gala, WWD reports: "He was invited but didn't attend for reasons he'd rather not discuss." How mysterious. He would have been in good company, with Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, Thakoon and more in attendance.

Owens prefers to stay close to his Paris home and said he's been in New York only two times in the last seven years, the second time being right now. He's in town for his upcoming furniture exhibition at Salon 94 gallery.

But despite his non-presence, he's realized that he is now recognizable to the trained fashion eye, being approached more than he expected on the streets of Manhattan.

"It surprised me because I usually consider myself pretty obscure," he said. "I get it if I'm in SoHo. I mean, people are really into fashion and stuff. But even so, I mean I was just kind of surprised."