Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama

The Daily Beast issued a challenge to former Project Runway designers: Design an inauguration gown for the First Lady. (At the time, Obama's win was not confirmed.) And! As with all ProjRun challenges, there was a twist: The designers could only use Laura Bush's 2005 Inaugural Ball dress, an American flag, burlap potato sacks and $10 worth of trims of their choice. The resulting sketches? A mixed bag: Partly hideous, partly hilarious and partly high fashion. But we poked around the designer's websites and found dresses from their collections that Ms. Obama might actually wear. The sketches and our choices, after the jump.

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Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama

Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll says of his burlap cocktail-length dress, "We need to live within our means and get back to basics."

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama

But for his spring 2007 collection, Jay designed this citrusy gown and this metallic gown. Either one could be an elegant choice for Michelle Obama!

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama

Season 1 finalist Austin Scarlett created this washed burlap strapless gown.

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama
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Here's a more formal choice, from Austin Scarlett's line, Kenneth Pool.

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama
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Season 2 semifinalist Kara Janx made a dress "about patriotism and change, with a pop culture spirit."

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But can you picture Michelle Obama in one of Kara's famous kimonos? The gold trim adds a more glamorous touch.

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Malan Breton of Season 3 cut the stars out of the flag and used them to highlight his dress.

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But a more simple, regal shape from his 2009 spring collection seems more fitting for a First Lady.

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama
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Mychael Knight, Season 3 semifinalist, created a "youthful and sexy" gown. "She's becoming the first lady, not an old lady!"

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Mychael's designs are so youthful and so sexy (think: leather bikinis) that the only appropriate gown to be found was this one from an old episode of Project Runway. Still, Ms. Obama could rock this.

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Alison Kelly of Season 3 says she "thought back to the Great Depression and remembered Coco Chanel's dropped waist silhouette" when she dreamed up this black gown.

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But what if she took this top from her line, Dahl by Alison Kelly, and lengthened it into a dress? It has a quiet yet impactful "wow" factor. And Michelle Obama has great shoulders.

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama
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LOL. This is from the lovable Chris March, Season 4. Due to dire financial straits, "The first lady will have to resort to wearing a barrel. Of course, hers will be glamorous."

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Checking out Chris March's site, it was tough to find anything Michelle Obama-appropriate. This was the best I could do. It's very "after the revolution," no?

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Rami Kashou of Season 4 used draping, of course. The stripes are awfully distracting, though.

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Could Michelle Obama wear a Rami Kashou divine golden goddess number instead?

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama
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Last, but not least: Season 5 winner Leanne Marshall. Her gown features a dramatic collar and "a very full, pocketed sweeping skirt of 50 horizontally paneled potato sacks." Not bad, but…

Illustration for article titled Imagine: A Project Runway Inauguration Dress For Michelle Obama
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This beautiful dress from Leanne's final collection would be much, much better. The Ball Gown Challenge [The Daily Beast] Related: Jay McCarroll Austin Scarlett Kara Janx Mychael Knight Dahl By Alison Kelly Chris March Rami Kashou Leanimal

DISCUSSION

morninggloria
Erin Gloria Ryan

At the innaguration, every member of the cabinet should dress according to his/her appointment. Defense should wear army fatigues, Treasury should wear that money suit with dollar sign glasses that the crazy guy in the FREE MONEY FROM THE GOVERNMENT commercials wears, Attorney General should dress like a caricature of an attorney and carry a gavel, Health and Human Services in a doctor outfit, Education a knit sweater with a big apple on the front, etc.