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« National Prayer Service in Naeem Khan | Main | Inaugural Luncheon »
Monday
Jan212013

Mrs. O Wows in Ruby Jason Wu

For a second time, Jason Wu has designed Mrs. O's inaugural ball gown. In some sense, it's bit of a surprise. If there's one way to describe the first lady's style, it's diverse. Over the past four years, Mrs. O has worn more than 50 designers, and that's a conservative count. While Jason Wu has remained consistently in the mix - most recently, Mrs. O has worn pieces from the designer's Miss Wu line - new names have emerged too. When polled last week, 10% of you thought Mrs. O would wear Jason Wu for this occasion. This choice indicates a lasting affinity for the designer, and a connection between Wu and Mrs. O that takes on new, even greater status.

As for the dress: the cut of the gown highlights Mrs. O's enviable arms, shoulders and back. The color reads power, and provides an energetic shift away from the subdued hues of the weekend. The lightness and movement of the fabric connotes an easy femininity. All in all, a winning combination.

Per a White House official via the pool report: "The first lady is wearing a custom Jason Wu ruby colored chiffon and velvet gown, shoes by Jimmy Choo, and a handmade diamond embellished ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald. At the end of the inaugural festivities, the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives."

Of note, I believe the Kimberly McDonald "embellished ring" is incorporated into the neckline of the dress, per the sketch below. To see more of the first lady's inaugural jewels from Kimberly McDonald, click here.

For further reading:

"Mrs. Obama's Inaugural Wardrobe by Many Designers" [New York Times]

"Picking a Winner Among a Field of Bold Theories" [New York Times]

"First lady Michelle Obama serves as fashion icon" [Washington Post]

A sketch of the gown via CNN's @AlinaChoCNN:

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Reader Comments (116)

Beautiful

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterVee

I love the neckline, the light velvety drape of the dress and her flippy hair. Gorgeous! A look I like much better than the white of 4 years ago.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterColleen

I love the red, very patriotic!!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJenna

Breathtaking!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:14 PM | Registered CommenterGroovy

and she looks FLAWLESS!!! Congrats!! You have done it again Jason Wu!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:16 PM | Registered CommenterJOHN COOK

The gown is gorgeous! Shimmering and luscious!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBevi

Stunning! That ruby red looks amazing against her skin tone! Kudos to Jason Wu!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM | Registered CommenterCreed419

I'm stunned! She picked Jason Wu a second time.
Beautiful, simple, clean, feminine, sweet, subtly sexy and seductive in a classy way - exactly what Mrs Obama does best!
She looks beautiful.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM | Registered CommenterC.

Michelle Obama is the most beautiful woman. And great Jason Wu dress! POTUS looks very dapper as well. Thanks so much for giving us this forum Mrs. T. Happy inauguration!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnne

The dress was breath taking. The dress color--stunning--hair--fab! She did it again.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:21 PM | Registered CommenterClaudia Simmons

When she first stepped on stage, the silhouette down the waist reminded me of Jason Wu and him it was!! I think Mrs. O gave top priority to comfort as it looked really comfortable. She looked gorgeous and it complemented her hair style too. Congratulations to Jason Wu. I wish it were a different up and coming designer but then it's alright.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRashmi

I love the neckline on the gown; the color also is beautiful. She looks stunning.

I do find it funny when people try to predict what the first lady will be wearing. Her hair will be up! She'll be wearing a brand-new designer! We should know by now: We zig; she zags. That's part of her charm.

(Sally Quinn on CNN is such a pill. She was bemoaning the fact that Oscar de la Renta's designs haven't been chosen by the first lady. Sigh ...)

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSuze

stunning photo of Michelle Obama from 2009 at http://jezebel.com/5150799/michelle-obama-to-grace-march-cover-of-vogue.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs 2S

This is what I have been waiting for alllllllll day :-) Thanks Mrs O you did it again, pure beautiful

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

Oscar made the fatal mistake of offending the First Lady early in her debut. I doubt she'll give him much of a spotlight in her events.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I was surprised too that she chose Jason Wu again. She looks stunning. Loved this dress better.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterNJMRSO

simply gorgeous i love it, but she forgot to shave her armpits...lol..just kidding!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Registered Commenterwinnie jeans

Beautiful but even though I'm watching live on TV it just doesn't seem official until you post the pics Mrs. T. Thank you so much for this forum and to all the contributors, you guys always cheer me up or keep my good mood going.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterLucia

The wait is over. Love the entire look...down to the red slippers. I need a red dress!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:39 PM | Unregistered Commenterdrwinona

Gorgeous dress but disappointed she didn't give a new designer a chance. Love the hair and love that she piled in the bracelets giving it her unique modern edge.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Sally Quinn must have forgotten the comments Oscar made about her early on. I was shocked she chose Jason Wu. She looks pretty but I wanted more and I am totally shocked she used Wu again. All in all it has been a wonderful day. BTW...who is Dr. Biden wearing?

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commentershyril

looking GOOOOOD Mrs Obama!!!! I absolutely love the dress, Stunning!! Great Kick off to another 4 yrs of FAB fashion!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterne

I love the simplicity and the elegance of this dress. Not to0 fussy, not a lot of ornate details but very pretty with some texture. Unlike a lot of others, I was not a fan of her inauguration dress/coat by Thom Browne- it was a little too drab for me. She always looks great in color and I love the neckline of this dress. I think Jason Wu seems to work for her so why mess with success. Besides, she will have many more occasions over the next 4 years to showcase other designers. Any chance De la Renta had of dressing her went out the window when he chastised her outfit when meeting the Queen of England and then the Alexander McQueen dress (which was fabulous) at a State Dinner. His dresses are matronly IMHO, more mother of the bride, less modern first lady.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterdenise

Love the back of the dress

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterGail

Suze - I thought the same thing about Sally Quinn. She also made this God awful comment about the high rate of military suicides and that nothing was being doing for them. This is a discussion that should be made, but certainly this was not the time. I think she is such a bitter person. She is probably mad that she is not in the Obama inner circle as she considers herself the Queen Bee of Washington society.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterKennedy

I love it - I think that fabric must look incredible in real life. It's sexy, grownup, and yet youthful - she looks 35, not 49. What a stunning, smart, sophisticated couple. And what an emotional day! Thanks for the beautiful photos.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterLainie

Beautiful dress and gorgeous couple.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:02 PM | Registered Commenteralex

Absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations Jason Wu, the FLOTUS looks amazing.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterMommaD

@Kennedy: I heard that comment from Sally Quinn, too; it struck such a discordant note. This president, and first lady, have made the care of our troops a priority. Anyway ... as stunned as I was by the Jason Wu reprise, I love the dress. The Wu/Choo combo is lovely.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterSuze

OUT OF THE PARK! Dare I say, she looks even more beautiful than four years ago. The color is a fantastic, patriotic, positive, powerful choice. She obviously loved the dress and has a strong relationship with Wu. Good for him. She gives SO many designers a boost. She's done more for fashion than any individual woman I can remember and she champions high end to off the rack. Has J. Crew ever done better? I think she and the girls are totally responsible for them being as relevant as they are now. I LOVE this dress....bold choice and she looks AMAZING in it...the hair, the jewelry, her arms, her back. Just flawless! Now I have to go back to the Smithsonian to see this one!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlisa

Mrs. Obama does not Disappoint in Ruby Red Jason Wu!!! What a Sentimental Choice, it seems to me! He designed her First Inaugural Gown & now this 2nd one, too, in Flowing Scarlet! It's a Perfectly BEAUTIFUL choice! The gown just Swirls, is Elegance Personified AND the top shows off her Wonderful shoulders and arms! The Brilliant Hue really makes our First Lady Glow! I'm so Happy she chose a Strong Color! It's a Wonderful contrast to her first Jason Wu gown, in Crystal & White, which softly glittered like snowflakes. The top part of the first Jason Wu gown was not Quite as graceful, imo, as the top part of this Vermillion gown, though. With this gown, Jason Wu REALLY hits the mark! (I'm Dying to see a close up of her jewelry, too)!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterZell

Hmm, I like the color, but think the sack-like design is just not special enough for the occasion. However, because Mrs. O is so statuesque and striking, she carries it. I wasn't a fan of the first inaugural gown either, finding it a tad too senior-prom-ish. Not sure why she chose Jason Wu again, rather than giving someone else a chance. Sadly, the sworn-in dress-coat combo doesn't impress me much, either. It's too somber and severe, but even so, I like its tailoring a bit more than the red gown.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDwinn

The dress is beautiful!! I will admit that I was a little underwhelmed when she came out, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought, this is exactly what she would wear. It's Michelle Obama!!! It shows off her best assets and the detailing is beautiful. It's like her, normal, but beautiful and unique at the same time!!!! I love it, I love Michelle, and I love my President!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:10 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Michelle looked Stunning! All I can say is WOW!..... Equally in stunning ensemble was Dr. Jill Biden. That was lovely ladies. Just Lovely

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterRosean

Videos of the first dance are up on various sites, including cnn.com. Jennifer Hudson was sure rockin' Al Green's Let's Stay Together! The Obamas make me smile with their sweet dance and their love shining so brightly and everpresent.

The dress is very lovely, light, airy and beautifully detailed. It's such a gorgeous shade of red. I too love the dress' neckline. It is surprising that Mrs. O went with the same designer, but there were many who submitted ballgown designs, so she obviously liked this one best. Wow, another coup for Jason Wu! I like FLOTUS' flipped hair change-up from earlier in the day, and her bracelets. Do we know anything about her earrings and her shoes?

Since it is cold out, I wonder what Mrs. O's overcoat looks like? Again, this is really something for Jason Wu to have accomplished twice! Mrs. O must have a soft spot for him, plus loving his magical creations. I was surprised at the white last year, but it fit the fairytale, hopeful quality that was in the air during the start of the first Administration. And it was an absolutely gorgeous design. The one-shouldered look in dress design has become so iconic as a result.

Obviously, it was Mrs. O's intention to choose patriotic colors for the Inaugural festivities. Navy blue silk jacquard for the day, and ruby red chiffon & velvet for the evening. Once again, wow that these special occasion outfits are never worn again. But there will be ready-to-wear knock-off versions for those who wish to purchase for their very own. Or, of course, those who can pattern and sew similar looks.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM | Registered Commenterflotusrocks

Agree with suze regarding pill Sally Quinn. Her thumbs down opinion of the gown came thru loud and clear--not fancy enough and she expected loads of chiffon billowing? Whaaaatt??
No it's not fancy like mrs. Bush or Hilary covered in lace overlays (thank god) but its the epitome of Michelle's style and wow she is she ever "Owning it" tonite! I am guessing the TV does not do justice to the beautiful texturing of the fabric, or the ruby red color.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:26 PM | Registered Commenterbabs

She looked nice but it wasn't a "wow" moment for me - her state dinner gowns are my favorite.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterMichelle B.

Just stunning!
As far as Sally Quinn, when she wrote a column for WaPo airing her family's dirty laundry several years ago, she shot herself in the foot and into irrelevancy.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:31 PM | Registered Commenterlittlered

Sally Quinn actually thought Michelle would be wearing something chiffon-y, like a Diana Ross gown. I was all, what the what??? Timely pop-culture reference there, Ms. Quinn! But enough of the doyenne of DC society ... so many happier things to dwell on tonight. I'm hoping someone snags a Jason Wu interview. I can't wait to hear his reaction to the first lady's choice.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterSuze

This post not about the dress. I was pleasantly surprised today that we got to see Michelle interacting with her daughters like a Mom, not a Mom-in-Chief or Mom-the-Dictator, but really a Mom. It was refreshing.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterWanda

Ya know, the gown is likely intended by Mrs. O to be just what it is, and I'm honestly not surprised she wasn't interested in doing something lavish and elaborate. She seems to have been focused on patriotic colors with simplicity, elegance, as well as comfort and stylishly beautiful details. Like I said earlier about her day outfit: It's a little bit of sparkle, and a bit of fun, but overall more muted and understated, as if she's saying, "I'm comfortable. I'm doing things my way. And we're about celebrating in style but a bit more conservatively." She seems to be projecting the attitude of, "Let's get down to business."

I'm sure FLOTUS is going to be rockin' ever more fabulous Naeem Khan, Michael Kors and other designers' gowns at state dinners and special occasions. She has a whole 'nother four years to charm and to deliver her special brand of magic. For now, she looks great in Jason Wu ruby red! I wonder what Mr. Wu is thinking. Thom Browne seemed to still be recovering from the surprise when I saw him on television earlier this evening.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Registered Commenterflotusrocks

I felt a little deflated when I saw the dress....
The blold color I loved, but overall it missed the WOW factor I was hoping for . Mrs. T thanks for the keeping up today with all the photos and information on designers, etc. Now we look to the next four years....

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdear

She looks stunning - happy, comfortable and festive. And I am glad she chose red, especially given the political significance that red and blue have gained in recent years. I was hoping she would choose red or violet, not only because she looks gorgeous in both, but also because it would be a kind of sartorial hands-across-the-aisle gesture that needs to be made. I don't doubt she loved the dress, but I also think she did this very consciously to underscore the "coming together" theme of her husband's address today. As always: well done, MO!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:49 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

All day they have looked like two teenagers in love and much much more relaxed than four years ago especially when they were walking along Penn Ave. As for the dress, on first glance, I was slightly underwhelmed however after I got a chance to look at it closely, I could see that it was a winner. The rich colour set off her skin nicely and the back showed off Mrs Obama's 5 am workouts !! More importantly, it looked comfortable and easy to work on the dancefloor. Today has been great. Everything went off without a hitch. Any news on Dr Biden's gown ? Gorgeous colour.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:49 PM | Registered CommenterJestina ( London, England)

Mrs. Obama looks stunning tonight. The red gown is both flirty and youthful.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterUnam

Boring inauguration outfit in dark blue, boring dress with little casual shrug for the lunch and underwhelming red frock.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergaylev

Beautiful! A nice choice--she went with what worked for her! And comfortable. Like the change/flip of the hair. An exciting day with very pleasant surprises! Thank you Mrs. T (off to bed for me now)!!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterAuntie Mom

I can only echo what so many have said already. A truly beautiful woman dressed so elegantly with perfect hair and choice of jewelry. It is so true that she looks younger today than 4 years ago. What a role model!

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterFletcher

At least with this Jason Wu gown it doesn't look like Big Bird....which was the case with her gown in 2009. Still...very unimpresive. Same for her new hairstyle.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlyse

I read a tweet saying that Vera Wang designed Dr. Biden's gown.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 11:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSuze

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