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Michelle Obama’s ruby Jason Wu inaugural ball dress

Drama in red: First lady doubles down on Jason Wu

By Kevin Liptak

WASHINGTON (CNN) — After all the anticipation and waiting, perhaps the biggest bombshell about Michelle Obama’s inaugural ball dress was that it really wasn’t a surprise at all.

Like 2009, First lady Michelle Obama wore a gown by American designer Jason Wu, who was catapulted into the highest echelons of fashion when Michelle Obama donned one of his designs four years ago.

Monday’s gown was a vibrant ruby red, made from chiffon and velvet, according to details released by the White House. It had design parallels to the flowing white chiffon dress Mrs. Obama donned in 2009, which firmly cemented the first lady’s arm-bearing, cinched waist style.

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Those arms were again on display Monday in Mrs. Obama’s halter-style dress, and a strip of fabric gathered the vibrant red fabric in tightly to her waist. She paired the gown with Jimmy Choo shoes and a ring by the jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald, the White House said.

As for the president, he wore what appeared to be the same tuxedo he donned at his 2009 inaugural balls, complete with white bow tie and flag pin.

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Obama stepped out wearing a navy silk coat in a checkered pattern and a matching dress by Thom Browne, an American designer known mainly for creating men’s suits. The White House said the first lady’s outfit was based on the style of a man’s necktie.

Speaking to CNN Monday, Brown said the nod from Michelle Obama was an honor – and an important boon to his two-year-old womenswear business.

“You can never predict life to happen this way,” he said. “I’m just so fortunate, so honored, so proud that she chose mine.”

Michelle Obama also wore J.Crew gloves and belt, earrings by Kathy Waterman, and blue suede boots from Reed Krakoff, the same designer who created the indigo shift dress and cardigan the first lady wore to the president’s official swearing-in ceremony on Sunday.

Krakoff’s namesake line sells shoes prices north of $500, but he is also the president of the American leathergoods purveyor Coach, whose shoes (and bags and wallets) are priced lower.

The White House said Monday that Mrs. Obama’s swearing-in outfit would head to the National Archives.

The Obama’s two daughters were also decked out Monday – Malia in a lavender coat and royal blue dress from J.Crew, and Sasha wearing a purple jacket and dress from Kate Spade.

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