Fashion

02.13.13

Michelle Obama Wears Jason Wu to the State of the Union Address

Michelle Obama stepped out for the State of the Union address in a black and crimson dress by Jason Wu, who is shaping up to be her very own Oleg Cassini.

And Jason Wu takes the FLOTUS prize again. It may have taken nearly two hours to identify the designer of Michelle Obama’s State of the Union attire on Tuesday night, but post-speech, the news came that Wu was the creator of the First Lady’s shimmering cocktail dress. Around 9pm, Obama emerged in the House of Representatives wearing an empire-waist oxblood and black A-line dress made of a tweed fabric, which she accessorized with an Alexis Bittar floral pin and still-intact bangs. Her dress’s neckline and armholes were trimmed with leather cording, and the frock’s lack of sleeves accentuated Obama’s famously buff arms.

The dress may have received mixed reviews from the twittersphere (the Wall Street Journal even questioned its political affiliation) but it stumped fashion experts as well. During President Obama’s first term, Mrs. Obama was known to endorse a wide array of young American labels, jumping between designers like Thakoon, Wes Gordon, Narciso Rodriguez, and Isabel Toledo, to name a few. Wu was, of course, one of her first major picks, having designed the ivory chiffon floor-length gown that Obama wore to her husband’s first inaugural ball. She wore the designer’s clothes many times thereafter, but not to as many consecutive high-profile events as she has in the past month.

The dress she wore to Tuesday’s State of the Union was edgier than the sweet dresses she’s commissioned from Wu in the past.

Following January’s inauguration, fashion critics were widely perplexed why Obama chose to wear another Wu gown to her husband’s second inaugural ball. They questioned why she didn’t offer the world’s stage to another rising talent. The dress she wore to Tuesday’s State of the Union was edgier than the sweet dresses she’s commissioned from Wu in the past—a sign of their potentially strengthened alignment.

Much comparison has been drawn between Mrs. Obama and Jacqueline Kennedy, mainly due to both women’s distinctive interests in fashion. But now another similarity is emerging between the two women. It seems that Wu could be quickly shaping up to be Obama’s equivalent of Oleg Cassini, Kennedy’s standby designer during her own White House years.

The blog Mrs. O was the first to identify Wu as the designer of Tuesday night’s dress. A spokesperson for Jason Wu confirmed the news to The Daily Beast noting that the style worn by Mrs. Obama is “a red organza tweed flounce dress from the pre fall 2013 collection.”