Inside Michelle Obama’s Star-Studded Celebration of Design

The First Lady opened the White House for a private reception Wednesday, honoring fashion's elite.
Inside Michelle Obama’s Star-Studded Celebration of Design

Anyone who rolled up to a particular corner of 15th Street, adjacent to the White House, yesterday evening at around 4:45 would have noticed a gathering of about 45 people. Upon closer inspection, the group would have revealed itself to include just about every major name in the fashion world. Seventh Avenue was clustered in an insanely chic huddle waiting to enter a Michelle Obama-hosted East Wing reception, part of her daylong, first-ever Celebration of Design.

Eventually a couple hundred other notables arrived, the gates opened, and a who’s who of fashion’s elite—including Anna Wintour, Prabal Gurung, Zac Posen, Vera Wang, Joanna Coles, Thakoon Panichgul, Georgina Chapman, Reed Krakoff, Alexis Bittar, Jason Wu, Mary Alice Stephenson, and Thom Browne—strolled inside, greeted by a hallway display of mannequins sporting Mrs. Obama’s most important gowns. It was, without a doubt, the biggest cluster of truly fashionable folks ever to visit Washington in one fell swoop.

For the next two hours or so, a veritable barrage of heavy-hitters noshed at several stunningly adorned buffets (spotted: fashion people eating!) and enjoyed the intimate White House affair, which marked the close of a day of workshops and panels held to inspire the more than 150 fashion students invited to participate.

While we can’t divulge particular details of the private event, we can say the fashion industry on the whole has major respect for Mrs. Obama, whose ensembles have boosted emerging designers, touted the need for sartorial individuality, and championed the business of making clothes. She, in turn, has quite often paid homage to the creativity and artistry of the profession, and last night was no exception.

In short, the First Lady threw the most memorable party any fashionista worth her Manolos (one designer who, sadly, was not there) would give her right arm to attend. So, while icons such as Jenna Lyons of J. Crew took selfies with guests (snapping them herself and adding her own selection of filter) and supermodel Naomi Campbell posed for pics with Lazaro Hernandez (one half of fashion “it” boys Proenza Schouler) and Diane von Furstenberg, for one glorious night, DC’s style cred trumped New York, London, and Paris.

Find Kate Bennett on Twitter at @katebennett_dc.

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