UNDER WRAPS: While First Lady Michelle Obama has persuaded most of her designer guests to zip shut any discussion about Wednesday’s first educational workshop and panel discussion at the White House, a few handlers involved with the project said she had more in store for the students than career advice. “People have been working around the clock” to complete a visually compelling piece that will be unveiled during the all-day event, according to one insider. “It will be much more exciting than the Christmas tree going up,” said the in-the-know executive, referring to one of the more flash-friendly annual photo ops for the First Family.

Beltway residents may get a glimpse of it Tuesday — or not. “The White House is being really hush-hush about this,” one insider said.

This story first appeared in the October 7, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The First Lady will be introduced by Anna Wintour Wednesday at a private luncheon and then the impressive eye candy, so to speak, will be revealed, a few sources said. Declining to pinpoint whether the extravaganza will be an installation, exhibition or something else entirely, one helper chalked up her evasiveness to the fact that she, like many others, had to sign a nondisclosure agreement with an unidentified client.

The First Lady is believed to have a major announcement planned for Wednesday that is geared to providing more of a direct career path for students interested in design, fashion and art to drive the economy. That initiative aims to appeal especially to lower socioeconomic students and minorities who may not have traditionally had access to design-related fields and studies, one attendee said. In addition, Parsons The New School for Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology will be represented in some capacity, with Obama potentially wearing dresses by students to the various events, including a Celebration of Design cocktail party that evening.

Inspiration, construction and entrepreneurship are said to be a few of the topics that will be explored during the workshops and panel discussion, with each designer addressing five or six students in a 45-minute workshop.

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