WASHINGTON – For the next year, First Lady Michelle Obama’s second inaugural gown will be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution.
Before it’s stowed away for a future presidential library, Obama’s ruby-colored chiffon gown designed by Jason Wu is being lent to the National Museum of American History for a year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Smithsonian’s “First Ladies” exhibition.
The dress will be paired with her shoes designed by Jimmy Choo and will go on display Tuesday. The gown features a cross-halter strap neckline adorned with small diamonds.
A first for second gown
While the Smithsonian traditionally collects each first lady’s first inaugural gown, second gowns are usually shown only in presidential libraries. This is the first time the museum has displayed a second inaugural gown.
The dress was transferred to the National Archives but is being lent to the Smithsonian with the White House’s blessing. Lisa Kathleen Graddy, the Smithsonian’s curator of women’s political history, said it seemed like a nice time to start a new tradition in the ever-evolving “First Ladies at the Smithsonian” exhibit for those who serve two terms in the White House.
“The more I started thinking about it, it’s such a long time before the presidential library is built,” she said. “There’s such interest in the dress, I thought maybe it would be interesting if we could borrow the dress and do a special display … so that people would get a chance to see it.”