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2009 November 25

Naeem's Big Night

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US President Barack Obama with First Lady Michelle Obama US President Barack Obama with First Lady Michelle Obama
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(NEW YORK) It's been a busy twelve hours for Naeem Khan. Last night, Michelle Obama opted to wear his custom gown for her first official State Dinner, an event discussed and uniformly dubbed Washington D.C.'s hottest event. The dinner, held under a tent on the South Lawn, was held in honor of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India and his wife, Gursharan Kaur. "Modern Flourishes at Obama's State Dinner," proclaimed the New York Times, referencing the glittering spectacle further beautified by newly-tapped florist Laura Dowling and guest chef Marcus Samuelsson.

The Obamas drew their formidable group of intimates, along with Hollywood types such as Steven Spielberg, Blair Underwood, and M. Night Shyamalan. Jhumpa Lahiri and Colin Powell also attended the affair, which featured honey and sage from the White House garden along with curried prawns, okra, collard greens, and cornbread on a mix of Clinton and Bush china. Jennifer Hudson performed at this event, which is widely known as the President and First Lady's first social event at the White House.

"I am beyond happy and for Mrs. Obama to wear my dress," said Khan, who grew up in India, returns there frequently and has always used Indian workshops to achieve the exquisite beading and embroidery found on his gowns. "It's an American dream come true. I was so overjoyed when she walked out that I froze--no words, stunned by her beauty and grace."

"The inspiration was a 'New Chic and Modern India' to make something that is classic, glamorous, but super elegant," said Khan of the dress, which has already earned praise from experts at CNN (where the designer appeared live on Larry King last night) as well as countless blogs and fashion reporters. "It is as timeless as the culture of India. The new royalty. When sketching the dress one side of my brain was telling me, What would Halston do?" (Khan was a protégé of the legendary designer.) "But the other warns to keep true to who I am. I feel so so happy to be a part of this historical event between the two countries where my heart is. I feel a sigh of relief of a job done. I feel honored to be chosen. For me, this is Thanksgiving in its true form, and one that I will never forget. Truly, it is my American dream coming true."
ASHLEY BAKER




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