Friday, March 12, 2010

Michelle Obama's Dress

Michelle Obama's Inaugural gown is now on display at the Smithsonian! Mrs. Obama presented it to the Smithsonian on Wednesday, March 10th. From her remarks upon presenting the dress, we can see the importance of these dresses (besides just being awesome to look at!):
When we look at the gown that Jackie Kennedy wore 50 years ago, or the one that Mary Todd Lincoln wore more than a hundred years before that, it really takes us beyond the history books and the photographs, and it helps us understand that history is really made by real live people.

The detail of each gown –- the fabric, the cut, the color –- tells us something much more about each single First Lady. It’s a visual reminder that we each come from such different backgrounds, from different generations, and from different walks of life.

Each gown places us right in the moment and makes us wonder about the intimate details of that evening, like how did she feel in the dress? Did her feet hurt in those shoes? (Laughter.) How many times did her husband step on that train? (Laughter.) But, more importantly, these gowns and this exhibit uniquely define a moment in our American history.

Mrs. Obama also talked about her memories of the Inauguration Balls and the dress itself:
When I look at my gown –- which I, in fact, have not seen since the day that I took it off –- memories of that moment truly come rushing back. I remember that it was freezing cold in Washington. I know we all remember that... I’ll never forget the moment that I slipped on this beautiful gown. I remember how just luscious I felt as the President and I were announced onto the stage for the first of many dances. And I’ll cherish that moment for the rest of my life.

I am actually going to DC the end of this month (to see the terra cotta warriors - nothing presidential, but I'm VERY excited), but I'm going to try to drop in and see this as well! If I don't make it, as the Smithsonian Magazine reminds us - it is now in the permanent collection so I have some time!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the exhibit on First Ladies' gown too, and I agree that they can help bring these historical figures to life. The Hermitage in Nashville has a display showing clothing of Andrew and Rachel Jackson. They looked like Jack Sprat and his wife. But in each other's eyes, they were beautiful. It's actually very touching.