Michelle Obama Donates "Masterpiece" Inaugural Gown to the Smithsonian

03/09/2010 at 02:39 PM ET

Olivier Douliery/Abaca

While many designers dreamed of creating Michelle Obama‘s inaugural gown, it was young Jason Wu who nabbed the honor with his one-of-a-kind one shoulder ivory gown with delicate floral details. And today, the 27-year old designer stood next to the stylish First Lady, in a Prabal Gurung sheath, as his handiwork was donated to the Smithsonian to be a part of “The First Ladies at the Smithsonian” exhibit. Mrs. Obama praised Wu’s work as being “a masterpiece. It is simple, it’s elegant, and it comes from this brilliant young mind, someone who is living the American Dream.” And as for seeing her gown be a part of a museum exhibit, the First Lady admitted to being just a little flustered by the attention to her wardrobe. “And I have to say, to be honest, I am very honored and very humbled, but I have to say that I’m also a little embarrassed by all the fuss being made over my dress. Like many of you, I’m not used to people wanting to put things I’ve worn on display. So, all of this is a little odd, so forgive me.” But, she continued eloquently, “But, at the same time, I truly recognize the significance of this day. This gown –- and all of the items that we’ll see in this wonderful exhibit –- help us connect with a moment in history in a very real way.” And she explained that she felt connected to that historical day in her own life just by looking at her dress — for the first time since she took it off! “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.” And a thrilling moment it was, as she explained, “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.” The new gallery in the “The First Ladies at the Smithsonian” exhibit, “A First Lady’s Debut,” opens to the public March 10. Get more details at americanhistory.si.edu and see a behind-the-scenes video here.

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