Design used with kind permission from The Daily Beast
All eyes now focus on the Inaugural Ball and what Mrs. O will wear for what will surely be a historic occasion. For all intents and purposes, the Inaugural Ball will set the tone for Mrs. O’s White House style. Everything up until now, the Thakoon frocks, the Maria Pinto sheathes, although compelling, have been just an amuse bouche for the main course.
As designers clamor for the opportunity to dress Mrs. O, The Daily Beast posed this challenge to former Project Runway favorites: design a gown, fabulous enough to befit the lady wearing it, using an American flag, a burlap sack, first lady Laura Bush's inaugural gown (think pale blue and sparkly) plus ten dollars for trimming.
A challenge for any designer, but one worth the taking for these burgeoning couturiers. Here we’ll profile our favorite 4 of the 8 designs. To see the full range of gowns, click over to The Daily Beast.
Mychael Knight, Season 3 Semifinalist
Oh Mychael, the man who brought us glamour from the dumpster (one of his first challenge wins) and then took us on an urban safari for the finale – you are broad in your aesthetic grasp. There is something very chic about the dress. The flag used for body of the dress, along with the large bow, have a very McQueen quality. Taken individually each aspect of the dress is good, but together there might be too many bells and whistles.
Alison Dahl Kelly, Season 3
Alison Dahl Kelly was the tragedy of Season 3, and a designer we are happy to see again. Dahl's design uses the burlap sack dyed a chic black, and embellished with a sash and appliqués made from the lining of Laura’s dress. The wide belt would be fantastic for Mrs.O and extremely figure flattering. However, the cocktail length may be breaking too much with convention for the Inaugural Ball. We fully endorse this dress for another occasion – perhaps a photo op on the lawn with the girls and Puppy O?
Rami Kashou, Season 4 Finalist
Rami, Rami – nothing like neoclassical draping to spell the triumph of democracy (think Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People). The exterior of the dress is draped from Laura Bush’s dress with the interior flag stripe peaking through the folds. The waist is clinched with a burlap belt. We like the mix of classical drape and of the moment trend – belting everything. This would be a good but safe pick for the ball.
Leanne Marshall, Season 5 Winner
We love Leanne and we love this dress. In keeping with her sculptural dresses from her final collection (very Balenciaga Spring 2007), Leanne builds texture and volume by layering the neckline of the dress. The deep, but not too deep, V of the neck is universally flattering, while the faux wrap adds an unexpected twist. The clinched waist is clearly a winner. We love the pockets, which adds a modern casualness to the dress, without diminishing the elegance. The most fabulous part of this dress is in the hidden detail. Although it looks like a vision of beige or more accurately, burlap, the entire dress is lined in the flag stripe. Polished on the outside, with humor on the inside – we love.
So there you have it – our thoughts on some fabulous potential designs for Mrs. O's big night. Chances are Mrs. O's more likely to wear boucle than burlap, but regardless, it’s fun to see designer imagination at work. Have a peek over at The Daily Beast and let us know what you think.