Michelle Obama again picks designer Wu for inaugural gown

Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:16pm EST
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By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It was one of the biggest questions of Monday's inaugural celebrations: not what would President Barack Obama say, but what would his wife, Michelle Obama, wear?

The first lady cemented her reputation as an international style trend-setter with her choice of a Jason Wu red sleeveless ball gown in the evening, and a striking business-style blue navy coat and dress for the ceremonial daytime events.

It was a huge win for U.S. designer Wu making one of his ball gowns her choice for a second straight inauguration.

The first lady appeared for her first dance of the night with the president at the Commander-in-Chief's Ball for U.S. service members in a ruby-colored chiffon and full-length velvet gown custom made by the New York-based designer.

Her shoes were from the London-based Malaysian-Chinese designer Jimmy Choo, and she wore a diamond-embellished ring handmade by jeweler Kimberly McDonald of New York.

Michelle Obama helped make Wu a household name by choosing a white chiffon gown he designed for the balls celebrating her husband's first inauguration in 2009. Wu, now 30, has since had significant commercial success, but his creations in the two inaugurations has won him a place in U.S. fashion history.

Dressing the first lady, a Harvard-trained lawyer known for her style, can be a huge boost for a fashion designer or retail chain.

Praised for wearing high-end designers as well as pieces from mass-market stores, the first lady has won over fashion critics in her four years in the White House.   Continued...

First lady Michelle Obama takes the stage at the Commander in Chief's Ball in Washington, January 21, 2013. Michelle Obama's dress was designed by Jason Wu. REUTERS/Rick Wilking