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Jason Wu on that Michelle Obama Inauguration dress and why the First Lady is a dream to style

Kim Hookem-Smith
Yahoo Lifestyle
4 April 2013

Jason Wu became the envy of many up-and-coming and established fashion designers when First Lady Michelle Obama stepped out on stage at the 2009 Inauguration Ball wearing one of his creations.

Unbeknown to him, Michelle had picked out a white, chiffon dress design by the relatively unknown designer - a move that would change the course of his career.

Already a rising star in the fashion world, Jason Wu was catapulted into the limelight, and would go on to become a firm favourite at the White House, later designing Michelle's second inauguration dress in 2013.

And he's still honoured to have the pleasure of designing for Michelle.

[Related: Michelle Obama leads new hair trend]

“I’m so happy to have done both of them,” he said in an interview with the Boston Globe. “But it doesn’t matter what she wore, she would have looked gorgeous.”

In the interview he explains that the colour of the dress was fixed in his mind before he began designing, but he had no idea how photographed it would become. “I knew that the first dress would be white. That’s the option that I presented,” he said. “The second dress, I was also clueless that she would be wearing it until that night.

"There wasn’t any symbolism for the second dress, I just knew it would be red. It’s something that just felt right.”

[Related: Karl Lagerfeld slams The FLOTUS' style]

Michelle also chose to wear a magenta design by Jason for her first ever US Vogue cover in 2009.

Jason puts his popularity down to his desire to make 'pretty' clothing that works with women's figures, rather than trying to be too experimental.

“I think there was always pressure as a young designer to be cool and downtown,” he said. “I never had it in me to be cool and downtown, nor did I ever want to be.

"Think back to Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Lacroix. Those designers are part of the reason why I became infatuated with fashion. They made pretty clothes.”

[Related: Michelle Obama gets airbrushed in Oscars gown]

We can trace Jason's love of pretty dresses back to his unusual hobby as a child - collecting dolls. His first designs were made for these tiny female figures, giving him a taste for intricate, feminine design that has translated onto his full size clothes.

Other 'Wu Women' include Blake Lively, Diane Kruger, Emily Blunt and Emma Stone, and at just 30, we get the feeling Jason's star will continue its rise, though where to go from two inauguration dresses is something of a puzzle.

Perhaps branching out of clothes will be the next step, if this comment is anything to go by:

"A woman can’t exist in a white box. She needs to exist in the world, and I want to design that world.”

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