First Lady Inauguration Ball Fashion

Celebrity, Wedding Dresses

Hopeful. Whimsical. Cheerful. Youthful. Simply lovely.

These are all words that a bride wants her dress to emanate on her big day—and these descriptors are exactly what first lady Michelle Obama's Jason Wu dress for the inaugural balls emanated last evening as she enjoyed the first dance (over and over again) with her husband, President Barack Obama. Along with its ivory color, the dress embodied the evening's spirit of optimism because of the inspiring all-American story behind it. As New York-based designer Jason Wu told today, he had no idea the First Lady had decided to wear the gown he created until he saw her walk out in it. "I've been on pins and needles for two months," he said. "I made the dress in November, and flew to Chicago with it over Thanksgiving. I didn't want anyone else touching it! But I really didn't know she'd be wearing it until I saw her on TV last night, just like everyone else. I dropped everything when she walked out. And, yes, I did cry a little bit." For the 26-year-old fashion newcomer, who has only been designing professionally for three years but is beloved by the industry, it was the presidential seal of approval any designer would crave. (Just try to get into his show this coming Fashion Week. We're certain tickets will be hot, hot, hot!)

The dress's one-shoulder style flattered one of Mrs. Obama's best features, her toned upper body, and elegantly showed off her back and arms. It's simplicity—a fitted bodice and long, flowing skirt made of silk chiffon and organza and embellished subtly with Swarovski crystals—was a refreshing departure from the usual ostentatious beading we've seen in the past. Mrs. Obama, who chose to wear her hair down rather than in an anticipated updo, punctuated the sparkle in her gown with shimmering jewelry—dangling earrings, bangle bracelets and an oversized ring by another American designer, Loree Rodkin. The first lady's affinity for American designers—especially virtual unknowns—is quickly making her a fashion darling, and her style sense—as globally illustrated last night—a true fashion icon.

As summed up by President Obama: "First of all, how good looking is my wife?"

We say, very good. —Elayne Fluker

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