Michelle Rocks NYC Fashions

New York designers Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu dress First Lady

Michelle Obama celebrated her husband's inauguration sporting New York City fashions from his swearing-in to their debut dance as First Couple.

While Barack Obama fumbled his way through the oath of office, Michelle wore a sparkling yellow sheath dress with matching coat by Parson-trained designer Isabel Toledo.

"It's not just my moment and hers, but it's the world's," said the Cuban-born, New York-based Toledo.

Toledo's design won praise from across the world of fashion, including Oprah magazine creative director Adam Glassman.

"I thought she looked beautiful," Glassman said. "With just that touch of embellishment, I think it came across as being special without being too royal. It was not like she was wearing the crown jewels."

President Obama was clearly impressed.

"First of all, how good-looking is my wife?" President Obama asked a cheering crowd at last night's Inaugural Ball.

As day turned to night, Michelle slipped into a white chiffon, one-shoulder gown covered in fluffy appliqués and beading that was designed by New York's own Jason Wu.

"It's soft, feminine, but powerful; I wanted to convey all that in a dress," Wu said. "I wanted it to look like a sign of hope."

Wu is much loved in the fashion world but otherwise not well known. His gathered-skirt gown was surprising for its reserve given Michelle Obama's love of jewel tones and sleek silhouettes. Yet it was unconventional, too, exposing her much-remarked-upon, well-toned arms.

The gown's slight train swirled pleasingly and her shoulder-sweeping earrings picked up the gown's sparkle as she and President Barack Obama danced the evening's first dance at the Neighborhood Ball at Washington's Convention Center.

Wu did not know she had selected the dress until she appeared in it, he said. The gown will be donated to the Smithsonian, according to tradition, the first lady's spokeswoman said.

The fashion industry has anxiously looked to the election of Obama for months, embracing his wife as an emblem and ambassador of modern style, who wears clothes from young designers as well as mainstream American retailers.

The first lady's selection of Toledo and Wu, who has only shown a collection since 2006, demonstrates one of the reasons she has fascinated the fashion world.

"Her support means so much to designers who can't afford to advertise," said Nicole Phelps, executive editor at Style.com.

Wu, who according to his Web site is just 26, said he sewed the dress himself as late as December. He said he sent sketches to Obama at the suggestion of Ikram Goldman, who owns the Ikram boutique in Chicago where Michelle Obama has been known to shop.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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