Some commenters were stunned when Michelle Obama emerged last night at the Inaugural Ball wearing a ruby-red velvet and chiffon ball gown designed by Jason Wu. This was the first lady’s second go-round with Wu, as she chose the then little-known designer four years ago for her Inaugural Ball debut. “I am shocked,” CNN style correspondent Alina Cho said on air. “This is remarkable that four years later she would choose Jason Wu again.”
But while the fashion world found the return to a Wu design surprising, from a business perspective it makes a lot of sense. The halter dress was the only design Wu submitted to Obama. And though he was competing with 14 other designers, according to CNN, Wu knows his customer well. The halter-necked dress with diamond-encrusted keyhole neckline was designed with the customer in mind, highlighting Obama’s much-touted shoulders and arms.
Fashionistas thought Obama might pluck another unknown American designer from relative obscurity, but she is known to be somewhat of a brand loyalist. According to Shine.com, she’s “known as much for her fashion risk-taking as for her dedication to a select group of designers.” Earlier in the day for the swearing-in ceremony, Obama and her oldest child, Malia, were wearing J Crew, also a frequent Obama fashion choice.
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