By  on April 13, 2009

On a cold night in January, designer Jason Wu's entire world changed dramatically in a matter of just a few seconds. In one of the most anticipated fashion moments of a long time, First Lady Michelle Obama stepped out at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball wearing his off-the-shoulder white dress he had carefully embellished with organza flowers and Swarovski crystals.

What a difference a dress makes. Within minutes, CNN was calling his home phone to get the designer for a live segment; the Today show was trying to track him down both at home and in his studio, and close to 100 e-mails landed in his inbox. “My mother in Taiwan, five minutes in, knew it was my dress, although I had not even told her I had worked on it,” Wu recalls, sitting in his West 37th Street studio. “I had no idea how huge it became.”

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