NEW YORK — As the clock ticks down toward Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, the rush is on to complete the First Family’s wardrobes for the social events surrounding the big event.
The family’s female contingency — Laura Bush and her daughters, Jenna and Barbara — swooped into Manhattan Saturday for fittings for their inaugural attire. Four days of festivities — including 10 balls, a Kid Rock concert, a parade and fireworks — call for plenty of picture-perfect poses, and Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka, Lela Rose and Peggy Jennings were said to be among the designers preparing outfits.
The First Lady’s silvery blue de la Renta gown is a more subdued look than the ruby Chantilly lace Michael Faircloth dress she wore for the 2000 inaugural. Bush has become a big de la Renta fan over the last year, wearing his designs on a number of occasions during the campaign and even inviting the designer to sit in the family’s box during the Republican National Convention in New York last August.
No longer the freewheeling, media-loathing teens they were during the first go-round, college grads Jenna and Barbara are said to be endorsing their mother’s sense of stately elegance. No word yet on what the twins will be wearing where, but Badgley Mischka and Lela Rose were reportedly putting the finishing touches on ensembles made of a mixture of fabrics. Both companies declined to comment about specific styles.
As for the twins’ evolving taste, a Lela Rose spokeswoman said, “The girls are more confident about what looks good on them and they’re more sophisticated. They’re older and more mature. That’s directing their choices more than anyone else’s opinion. They have their own sense of style and it’s not any one style.”
The First Lady is expected to don a Herrera dress to the Black Tie and Boots Ball on Jan. 19, where Lyle Lovett, Clay Walker, Neal McCoy and Asleep at the Wheel will perform. She also has lined up two suits, an evening gown, and a coat with a matching dress from Jennings.
“She’s wearing our gown to the candlelight inaugural dinners,” said the designer’s husband and business partner, Herb Kosterlitz, declining to whisper any other details.The three candlelight inaugural dinners scheduled for GOP contributors will be held at Union Station, the Washington Hilton and the National Building Museum. All told, the inaugural committee will be shelling out $40 million for the four-day affair, excluding security expenses covered by the committee and tax dollars.
At least one family member isn’t busy with inaugural dressing. The president’s niece Lauren Bush, an Elite model, plans to touch down in Sri Lanka this week on behalf of the U.N. World Food Program.
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