While the new Commander in Chief looked dashing in his custom Hart Schaffner Marx tux, it was Mrs. O who really rocked the dance floor in a one-of-a-kind ivory silk chiffon gown embroidered with silver thread, and embellished with organza and Swarovski crystals. The designer, New York fash-insider fave Jason Wu - a 2008 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist - was reported to have been as surprised as the rest of us when he saw his creation on TV. (via WWD) She has, however, worn one of his designs previously: a raw silk sheath painstakingly hand-embroidered with French-knotted rosette florets from Spring 2009 for her appearance on The Barbara Walters Special:
"It was a little surreal," the then-unknown later admitted to WSJ.com. "I had an inkling who [the $3,510 special order] was for, but I didn't want to think about it."
For the Inaugural Gown design, his marching orders were similarly cryptic: "I knew it had to be formal, and my only memo was that it had to sparkle," he told WWD. "I thought, I can do it, I can do sparkle." What he didn't ponder, however, was the possibility that it might actually be chosen for the event. "If I had thought about what this means, it would have hindered my creativity." While Obama didn't pay for this particular gown, it was with the knowledge that by wearing it for the big event, it will eventually be donated to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., along with the evening's bling designed by Loree Rodkin: shoulder-duster earrings with 48 rose-cut and briolette diamonds, 20 micropave diamond bangles, and a diamond ring with a 20 carat rose-cut stunner - for an estimated grand total of more than $250,000 at retail.
Earlier on Inauguration Day, the new First Lady attended her husband's swearing in and the ensuing festivities in a striking yellowish-chartreuse ensemble by avant garde designer Isabel Toledo (whose designs she has previously made appearances in), paired most chicly with grass-green leather gloves from J.Crew.
- Lesley Scott
(photos: Mrs O; Damon Winter/New York Times; CNN.com; Rick Wilking/REUTERS/Landov via WWD; Jason Wu/Barbara Walters Special dress - Red Carpet Fashion Awards; Jason Wu in his studio - Talaya Centeno for WWD )
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