The Inauguration: Gowns, Without Pity


Talk about really letting loose for your second term in office: This must surely be the only time in American history that a pillar of the administration — a First Daughter — has planned to wear metallic leather to an inaugural ball.

Jenna Bush — the blonde one — has stated her intention to don such a frock, created just for her by the design duo Badgley Mischka, who specialize in sexy, fussy dresses for desperate-housewife types. The garment has been described as an emerald silk crepe gown with metallic leather banding and jeweled insets. In fact, tiny bejeweled straps appear to hold this dress together across one’s back — a fairly saucy construction, but would one expect less from a woman who revealed a bit of bare belly bulging from atop her trousers during her speech at the convention?

Miss Jenna Bush and Miss Barbara Bush

Her slightly more demure sister, Yalie Barbara, intends to wear what has been described as a pale aquamarine silk chiffon trimmed with sparkling jeweled straps. This frock also is perilously low cut, fore and aft — and, at least by the look of the sketch at, may reveal a soupcon of heinie crack. Be that as it may, Barbara apparently thinks this will be just right for something called the “Black Tie and Boots” pre-inaugural ball hosted by the Texas State Society.

As for their mother, Laura has, for the moment, traded her boring suits, made, one suspects, by the best tailor in Crawford, Texas, for a gaggle of clothes designed by the apolitical Oscar de la Renta. (He’s also made plenty of duds — by which we mean clothes, we’re not commenting on the results — for Mrs. Hilton.) For the First Lady’s big night, Oscar has made a narrow dress of silvery-blue tulle, encrusted with bugle beads and Austrian crystals, that looks completely appropriate if not exactly earth-shattering.

Since everyone in fashion longs for a red carpet train wreck, fingers are crossed that the dress Carolina Herrera, a Venezuelan designer from a background so wealthy we once read that her family employed a servant whose sole task was brushing the heirs’ hair, will provide some chuckles: It’s a raspberry, awning-striped silk taffeta floor-length shirtwaist with western detailing and peculiar sleeves like the ones on a man’s shirt, only here the cuffs stop at the elbows.

Texas State Society “Black Tie and Boots” Inaugural Ball – Carolina Herrera Evening Gown Raspberry awning-striped silk taffeta shirtdress.

But perhaps most intriguing of all is the white cashmere embroidered coat and matching bouclé dress de la Renta has made for Mrs. Bush to wear at the swearing-in ceremony. Thought you were the only one reduced to buying fake Chanel? Its true that Oscar isn’t exactly Zara, but a fake is fake, a copy is a copy, and we know one when we see one.

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