Home Fashion & Style Michelle Obama’s second inaugural dress goes on display at Smithsonian

Michelle Obama’s second inaugural dress goes on display at Smithsonian

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Michelle Obama’s second inaugural dress will be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution.

Before it’s stowed away for a future presidential library, Michelle Obama’s ruby-colored chiffon gown made by designer Jason Wu is being lent to the National Museum of American History for a year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s First Ladies exhibition.

The gown will be paired with Michelle Obama’s shoes designed by Jimmy Choo and will go on display beginning Tuesday.

While the Smithsonian traditionally collects each first lady’s first inaugural gown, second gowns are usually shown only in presidential libraries. This is the first time the museum has displayed a second inaugural gown.

Michelle Obama’s gown was transferred to the National Archives but is being lent to the Smithsonian with the White House’s blessing.


Michelle Obama’s ruby-colored chiffon gown made by designer Jason Wu is being lent to the National Museum of American History for a year

Michelle Obama’s ruby-colored chiffon gown made by designer Jason Wu is being lent to the National Museum of American History for a year

This dress drew headlines when Michelle Obama unveiled her selection one year ago. It was the second custom-made Jason Wu gown Michelle Obama had chosen, following the white gown Wu designed for the first lady when she arrived in Washington and on the fashion scene. Since then, Michelle Obama has become a trendsetter.

It’s unusual for a first lady to use the same designer twice, at least in recent decades. Jason Wu has said it’s been the experience of his life to help dress the first lady, taking him from fashion insider to a household name since the first inauguration in 2009. Michelle Obama also has turned to designer Thom Browne for special outfits, including her coat and dress for inauguration day in 2013.

The Jimmy Choo shoes paired with Michelle Obama’s second gown had a much shorter heel, seemingly more comfortable than her heels for the first inaugural.

Michelle Obama’s gown is a centerpiece for the exhibit that examines the role of the first lady, her political and cultural significance and what she wears. Michelle Obama’s first inaugural gown will return to display in January 2015. In future years, the exhibit may evolve to show the changing role of the first lady as it changes with the presidency.

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