First Ladies' Inaugural Gowns Throughout History
Happy Birthday, Barbara Bush! The former First Lady, who turns 92 today, served as FLOTUS from 1989 to 1993, where she became heavily involved with advancing literacy, eventually founding her own organization, The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, while in office.
Despite her straightforward, conservative wardrobe during the primaries, Mrs. Bush finally showed off her glamorous side at the 1989 inauguration with her royal blue Arnold Scaasi gown. The First Lady was so fond of the asymmetrically draped design that she was reluctant to make the customary donation to the Smithsonian Institution. "I love this dress," she told Time, "and I really hate to give it up."
The First Lady arrived at Donald Trump's inaugural ball in an off-the-shoulder Hervé Pierre column gown.
For her husband's 2001 gala, Mrs. Bush chose a crystal-embellished gown in vivid ruby from home-state designer Michael Faircloth. The Chantilly lace design earned Faircloth a very important accolade. "[The President] said, 'You always do a wonderful job, Michael,'" the Texan talent told People. "Then he looked at Mrs. Bush and said, 'And my Laura always looks so beautiful.'"
Hillary Rodham Clinton
When it came to finding a gown for the 1993 gala, the future Secretary of State looked to Arkansas store owner Barbara Baber and former Designing Women costume designer Cliff Chally for options. Focusing on her love of bold color, the team helped the First Lady select a violet lace gown from New York designer Sarah Phillips. Of the classic choice, Baber said: "It doesn't take a whole lot to make her look good. But she is not going to be the first person with bell-bottoms. Fashion victim she's not."
Lady Bird Johnson
For the 1961 celebration, Kennedy collaborated on a design with Bergdorf Goodman's Ethel Frankau. "What you see with the inaugural gown is the triumph of her own personal style," the Fashion Institute of Technology's Valerie Steele has said. "To use fashion as a way of representing her husband's presidency-to look modern, elegant, simple and American." The sheath layered blouson chiffon over a silver-embroidered bodice.