Before heading to the Northern Lights-inspired tent on the South Lawn for Friday’s state dinner, President Obama and the First Lady had a photo op with the leaders of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland. Michelle Obama chose an off-the-shoulder blushed beige ballgown by Naeem Khan for what was the 12th such occasion of her husband’s administration.
Friday night’s event drew a stylish crowd, thanks to Rick Owens, Michèle Lamy, Janelle Monáe, Miranda Kerr with Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel, Allison Williams with Ricky Van Veen, Tracee Ellis Ross, jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald, Connie Britton, Desiree Gruber and Kyle MacLachlan. (Kerr wore a Carolina Herrera floral embroidered nude gazaar gown.) David Letterman, Will Ferrell and Billy Eichner were expected to help keep the mood light. Glamour’s Cindi Leive, People’s Sandra Sobieraj, The Aspen Institute’s Walter Isaacson, NBC’s Al Roker and ABC’s David Muir were some of the media types that made the cut. Chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Claus Meyer were supposed to be among the seated guests at the Scandinavian-inspired meal who would also catch a performance by Demi Lovato. Should anyone overindulge in the akvavit, they might have a word about hangover relief with CVS Health’s Larry Merlo.
Khan is a real favorite of the First Family. FLOTUS wore a Khan dress in March in Havana for a state dinner with Cuban President Raúl Castro. And Khan was the designer whom Obama turned to for dresses for the First Daughters, when they attended another state dinner earlier that month for Canada President Justin Trudeua. FLOTUS also wore a Naeem Khan gown for her first state dinner in honor of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2009.
In a phone interview Friday night, Khan said the First Lady’s office had tipped him off earlier in the day that she would be wearing one of his gowns for the Nordic leaders state dinner. The designer said he and FLOTUS had been going back and forth about her preferences. He said he had been working on the finishing touches for the past few weeks. As for why he seems to have the magic touch with the First Lady, Khan said, “I don’t know if I should say I’m lucky or she just likes my style. I just feel super fortunate that she likes what I do.”
The designer, meanwhile, had had a considerably more low-key dinner with his wife Ranjana in their Soho apartment.