WASHINGTON - Michelle Obama made it a fashion tradition Monday night, wearing a custom-made Jason Wu gown to the inauguration balls. The ruby-colored dress was a follow-up to the white gown Wu made for her four years ago when she was new to Washington, the pomp and circumstance, and the fashion press.
She now emerged in velvet and chiffon as a bona fide trendsetter.
"I can't believe it. It's crazy," said Wu, reached at his Manhattan studio. "To have done it once was already the experience of my life. To have a second time is tremendous."
President Barack Obama also struck a similar style chord to his first-term inaugural balls: He wore a white tie with his tuxedo.
The red halter dress was the only one Wu, who went from fashion insider to household name on this night in 2009, submitted for Mrs. Obama's consideration. He collaborated with jeweler Kimberly McDonald on the jeweled neckline. "For this occasion, it had to be real diamonds," Wu said.
He said he felt the dress showed how he has grown up as a designer - and how Mrs. Obama's style has evolved to be even more confident.
Wu spent Monday night trying to reach his parents in Taiwan to share his news. "They're in two different places right now, so it's been phone tag."