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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

9

"Exaugural" Gowns, For Some

For the past 20 years, the designers of the Smithsonian-destined inaugural gowns — only first-term dresses receive that honor — have been little-known men and one woman who had yet to be tested on the national stage. In the aftermath of the hoopla, they were dealt some bruising blows. Hillary Rodham Clinton turned to Sarah Phillips, a 37-year-old New York designer whose company was then only about three years old. After creating Clinton’s violet mousseline gown, Phillips went out of business. Laura Bush relied on her loyal Dallas-based dressmaker Michael Faircloth for her inaugural gown. Afterward, with the attention of the entire fashion industry on him, Faircloth crafted a ready-to-wear collection for the New York runway. But fate had different plans, and he never made it to the big city.

So wait, sorry, is being chosen to design the inaugural gown a good thing or a bad thing?



9 Comments / Post A Comment

NeenerNeener

It's better than being chosen to supply the inaugural pure-bred dog.

jhonsons

a great classic !!! thanks or posting@j

TheBelleWitch

The slideshow that accompanies the article! Helen Taft, I like your style.

But it's also a lot depressing. Mary Todd Lincoln criticized for opulence, Rosalynn Carter for not being fancy enough, Nancy Reagan for (gasp) showing off a shoulder, Hilary Clinton for being too dowdy. Apparently wearing clothes is a lose-lose scenario for first ladies.

harebell

@TheBelleWitch
Well, all the attention & judgment is ridiculous, but many of the first ladies (ugh, horrible term) do seem to fare better the second time round. Laura Bush looks so much younger and better in both her dresses from the second inaugural, the ice blue and the formal-shirtdress one (!). And it won't be hard for Michelle Obama to improve either, since she dresses better than that inaugural ball gown pretty much every day (so shapeless and odd! yikes -- here I go judging too, sigh).

I thought the young Hillary Clinton was adorable in her supposedly-dowdy purple dress!

TheBelleWitch

@harebell I guess I'm not objecting to judging so much as the weird moral tone of most of the arguments! I mean, fancy clothes are made to be looked at, but it's sort of sad to see the criticisms that make a statement on the women themselves, like they're not demure enough (Reagan's shoulder) or not classy enough (Carter's reused dress).

(Side note, I agree that Michelle Obama could do better than that ball gown.)

Elizabeth Switaj@twitter

It's like being on the cover of Madden.

Lucienne

@Elizabeth Switaj@twitter Or having your wedding in InStyle.

anachronistique

This reminds me of my favorite part in "The President's Daughter": where Meg and her brothers go to the Smithsonian and end up in the hall of First Ladies' inaugural gowns, and then at the end there's a space with a little card that says

"COMING SOON: RUSSELL JAMES POWERS."

beeline96

Did you see the comments from Sarah Phillips at the bottom?!?!!?

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