Obama's gown sent to Smithsonian

2010-03-10 11:02

Washington – First Lady Michelle Obama bowed to tradition on Tuesday and donated the dazzling ball gown she wore for her husband's presidential inauguration last January to the Smithsonian museum institution.

The flowing, white, one-shouldered Jason Wu gown studded with appliqué embroidery, along with peep-toe white Jimmy Choo high heels, a huge ring, thin diamond bracelets and dangling earrings joined the Museum of American History's collection of first ladies' dresses.

"I'm also a little embarrassed by all the fuss being made over my dress. Like many of you, I'm not used to people wanting to put things I've worn on display," Obama said to laughter.

"All of this is a little odd, so forgive me," she added, accompanied by Taiwan-born Wu, 27, at a ceremony unveiling the dress.

Wu, who shot to fame after Obama wore his floor-length ivory silk chiffon gown, both glamorous and revealing with its single-shoulder design studded with white organza flowers and Swarovski crystals, put his hands over his heart as the first lady spoke.

Life changing

"To say she has changed my life is really an understatement," the young Manhattan-based designer said.

"I was inspired by Michelle's poise, race and intelligence. I was inspired by the fact that I've been able to come to the US for fulfil my dream."

Wu, who only opened his first store four years ago, studied in Paris and later worked with US designer Narciso Rodriguez, another favourite Obama couturier.

"This gown is a masterpiece," an enthusiastic Obama said. "It is simple, it's elegant and it comes from this brilliant young mind, someone who is living the American dream."

The gown is part of a total of 24 dresses, including 11 gowns worn by first ladies since president Dwight Eisenhower's wife Mamie in the 1950s for the museum's "First Ladies at the Smithsonian" exhibition. All first ladies since 1912 have contributed to the collection.

The show features Jackie Kennedy's sleeveless silk gauze ensemble (1961), the lemon yellow satin ensemble of Pat Nixon (1969), and Laura Bush's red lace dress (2001), all worn on their big night.