Almost matching in anticipation to the contents of Barack Obama's inaugural address, speculations on Michelle Obama's choice of inaugural gown reached a near fever pitch in the entertainment and fashion worlds as the clock counted down to the beginning of a new era in American leadership.
While I acknowledge that the inauguration is in large part a pageantry of national identity, I have to point out the implicit sexism in the importance of the First Lady's fashion choices over her... I don't know, policy positions. But with that aside, I was very pleased that Mrs. Obama used this oft trivial decision to pass over fashion big wigs like Diane von Furstenberg or Michael Kors, and highlight a young, immigrant, Asian, start-up, and gay designer in Jason Wu.
Pardon me while I ring the gong of gay Asian America once more, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due. Jason Wu's rise in the fashion industry can only be described as meteoric, getting his start in creating elaborate outfits for collectible dolls and launching his fashion line only three years ago. To go from an upstart Taiwanese-born designer, breaking into the American fashion scene to being cemented in the fabric of American history by dressing the First Lady on inauguration night is virtually unheard of.
Now, I'm no fashion know-it-all but I do watch my fair share of Project Runway; and I have to say that after reviewing some of Wu's work, I'm a fan. His most recent collection is wearable, playful, vibrant, and versatile. Sophisticated without being snooty, and not bogged down with the eccentric flourishes of unrealistic couture designers. He makes clothes that women want to wear.
In describing the dress Wu says this:
It's about hope. It's about newness. It's all a little dreamlike, and we're making history, and I wanted to really reflect that.
A job well done to both Michelle and Jason for making a bit of history in these increasingly diverse United States.
Below are a few shots of the First Lady wearing the famed dress by Jason Wu and a video of Barack and Michelle sharing an intimate moment, serenaded by none other than Beyonce. Click to embiggen.