News / USA

Michelle Obama Stuns in Jason Wu Gown

Michelle Obama Stuns in Jason Wu Gowni
X
January 22, 2013 12:30 PM
All eyes are on the president on inauguration day, but it's the first lady who captivates the public's attention on inauguration night. VOA's Suzanne Presto in Washington has more about First Lady Michelle Obama's inaugural ball gown and takes a look back at first ladies' fashion.
Michelle Obama Stuns in Jason Wu Gown
Suzanne Presto
All eyes are on the president on inauguration day, but it's the first lady who captivates the public's attention on inauguration night. 

Michelle Obama dazzled in a ruby red gown at the inaugural balls Monday night.

The softly pleated dress was created by Jason Wu, the young Taiwanese-born designer behind the one-shouldered white silk chiffon gown that she wore to the inaugural balls in 2009.

That white gown is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington.

"People have always looked at what the first lady wears," notes exhibit curator Lisa Kathleen Graddy.  "She's a very public figure.  She belongs to us.  She represents us, and so we're interested in how she presents herself."

Laura Bush wore a silvery gown to celebrate George W. Bush's second inaugural in 2005.  

The Smithsonian exhibit also features Hillary Clinton's beaded lace gown, worn in 1993.  Also on display: the  Hollywood glamour of Nancy Reagan's one-shouldered gown in 1981, so different from Rosalynn Carter in 1977, who wore a chiffon dress she had worn several years earlier.

But the fashion favorite is Jackie Kennedy's 1961 gown.

Public interest in the first lady's attire - and the designers who create those looks - dates back to the 1700s, says Graddy.  

"Really, since Martha Washington [in the late 1700s] people have always been interested in what the first lady is wearing," the curator admits. "Newspaper accounts, accounts of social activity in Washington, would say what the first lady was wearing."

Inaugural ball gowns epitomize the celebrations that captivate the capital every four years.

"The inauguration is a combination of things.  It's a very solemn civic ceremony, and it's also an amazing party," Graddy says.

This year, the partying was scaled back.  There were two official balls, far fewer than the 10 for President Obama's first inauguration.  

According to historian Richard Norton Smith, such festivities are driven by the need to recognize and reward campaign contributors and not presidential ego.

"And then, of course, the poor president has to do something he almost never otherwise does, and that is dance in public," Norton Smith says.

Luckily for President Obama, most of the attention is focused on his wife.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
January 22, 2013 10:10 AM
He should have cancelled the event and put the money toward our national debt, or given it to some homeless disabled veterans or another charitable cause.


by: C Stewart from: Canada
January 22, 2013 9:37 AM
Seriously? THIS is the top story on google news? The Presidents' wife's dress?

Something is very wrong.

In Response

by: ju from: China
January 23, 2013 4:56 AM
AGREE

In Response

by: overdog from: thailand
January 22, 2013 10:02 AM
Welcome to America.


by: R_Larson from: Land of Enchantent
January 22, 2013 9:22 AM
I love the gown and it's metaphoric symbolism. The last several congresses have spent us nearly into the red and Michelle's elegant gown is a poignant reminder. If anyone wishes to place blame, place it where it belongs: Pres. Obama does not create a budget; he either approves or denies the budget that congress places before him.


by: David Simons from: NY
January 22, 2013 9:11 AM
Really sad that what dress Michelle Obama wore is actually news. Pathetic really. Why do we care? Why should we care? Personally I think she looked horrible. But regardless, this is news? How many people were shot and killed yesterday? Several. So why do we need to hear about a dress? Pathetic!!!


by: B Smith from: PA
January 22, 2013 8:56 AM
What is wrong here? Get dressed up in a very expensive dress and the media goes nuts. Obama hasn't produced a budget since he first took office and the media is mute.

In Response

by: Chris from: USA
January 22, 2013 10:11 AM
The President doesn't produce a budget. In fact, Congress doesn't either. Never has. Congress authorizes spending (and then for some reason idiot Republicans think it's okay to then not authorize payment of the debt after the money has been borrowed). This is basic, basic civics. I wouldn't make any more comments about the President and the government if I were you until you've spent some time to learn something about it.

In Response

by: BC. Guest from: Canada
January 22, 2013 9:47 AM
America's First Lady is beautiful and graceful, yet she's remains a humble person. Relish her while you still can!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid