What a night for the Obamas!
There’s no denying that I’ve been openly critical of some of Michelle Obama’s wardrobe choices — both before and after she became First Lady. But Tuesday evening, I was in awe. It was the first White House State Dinner since President Obama took office and Michelle definitely rose to the occasion. What a gown — shimmering silk chiffon embroidered with sterling silver paillettes. She resembled a magnificent swan — so full of grace.
According to designer Naeem Khan, his entirely hand-sewn creation took 40 people over three weeks to complete. I believe it. As a graduate of Haute Couture, I’ve rarely seen such an amazing gown. Khan’s reputation secured him the opportunity to design the gown but now he’s a STAR — undoubtedly inundated with orders.
Following the grand entrance of the President and First Lady, President Obama welcomed India’s Prime Minister ,Manmohan Singh, and proposed a toast to his guest. Prime Minister Singh responded to the toast with more than a simple, raised glass; he drank to himself.
In an identical gesture, President Obama also drank to himself when the Prime Minister offered a reciprocal toast. Perhaps, the President’s reaction was made in the same spirit as the famous Churchill finger bowl incident — when his guest drank from the finger bowl, Churchill followed suit in a gesture to save the guest from embarrassment.
Although I found the speeches eloquent and timely, the actual toasting and clinking of glasses was awkward. Both the President and the Prime Mister held the bowl of the glass, instead of the stem. White wine glasses should always be held by the stem — no matter that President Obama’s glass contained water. At one point, he had a napkin wrapped around the glass.
Although there was a server with a tray, he was out of range. A small table, as a place to deposit the toasting glasses, would have been helpful. As I said, there was an unfortunate awkwardness; the missing element was elegance.
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