THE BUSH BRIGADE
SUSAN DELL’S DOUBLE VISION
Byline: Rusty Williamson
NEW YORK — Susan Dell is heading uptown.
It’s late Thursday night, and she’s in a car, zooming through the Manhattan midtown tunnel, ready to unwind at her New York apartment after a whirlwind day of fitting, sewing and beading at her New York fashion design firm.
But this has been no ordinary day for the Dallas-bred custom and ready-to-wear designer, whose sleek styles have won her an appointment as inaugural gala designer for Barbara and Jenna Bush, the 19-year-old twin daughters of President-elect George W. Bush.
Dell spent Thursday in final fittings with Barbara and Jenna. “The girls love the dresses I’ve designed, and so do their parents,” Dell said in a phone interview with WWD. “It’s such a joy and honor to work with these young women. They understand fashion and know what they want.”
For Barbara Bush, Dell has designed a black tulle and pale pink silk chiffon slip dress with subtle beads and ruffles. For Jenna, she has created a black tulle and silk charmeuse column dress with confetti beading.
Dell, a marathon runner and triathlete known for her practical mind-set and low-key demeanor, said she had a red sweater set on when she went for the initial fittings with the twins.
“I wore it because I knew Laura was going to be wearing red at the gala,” she recalled. “I literally lay down on the floor between the two dresses to show them how good they will all look together on that special night, including George W. Bush in his black tuxedo.”
While the designer was making her presentation, Laura and George W. Bush walked through the room.”Looks great,” offered the President-elect, and his wife concurred, Dell said.
But what did the twins think? “You got me! I’m really excited about this,” was the response from Barbara, who’s known for her interest in fashion. Jenna, who, like the new First Lady, has a low-key, classic fashion sensibility, was quite happy with her sketch, as well, it appears. “When Jenna was explaining her personal style to me, she said, ‘I’m a blue jeans and T-shirt kind of girl,”‘ noted Dell.
“I told her I was, too.”