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Naeem Khan should probably prepare himself for a Jason Wu-type career boost. Michelle Obama opted for a gown designed by the Mumbai-born designer for her first official State Dinner last Tuesday night at the White House, and at 10 p.m. that night, Khan’s name was the third-most Googled item after “Dancing With the Stars” and “Who won Dancing with the Stars,” and before “Black Friday Deals online.”
Khan custom-designed the nude-colored strapless gown with a floral pattern made of silver sequins. While he had an inkling the First Lady would wear the dress, he, like most other designers she chooses, didn’t know for certain until the moment she stepped out in it.
This story first appeared in the November 30, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Reached in Miami, where he was spending the holiday weekend, Khan couldn’t conceal his happiness. “I was stunned and speechless, and totally blown away,” he said. “It took me a moment to gather myself and go, ‘Oh my God, that looks amazing.’ I am so happy that she is wearing my dress.”
The First Lady and President Obama welcomed India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, and for Khan, the moment also carried much personal significance. “It was a feeling that I had never had before,” he said. “Certainly, on a weekend like Thanksgiving, and being born in India but growing up here, I thought, ‘How amazing is this timing.’ It was a very thankful feeling.”
Khan wasn’t the only designer to get a sartorial nod from Obama. Earlier in the day, the First Lady wore a skirt by Rachel Roy.