First the First Lady. Divine. Love her. Love her hair. Love her dress by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan. The strapless gown features hand cut sterling silver sequins sewn on pale beige silk chiffon, which create an abstract floral pattern. The dress is entirely handmade, requiring three weeks of work by 40 people, completed in Naeem Khan's family workshop in India.
According to the Mrs. O blog:
Mr. Khan relayed that he designed 3 or 4 gowns for the event, which were coordinated through Ikram Goldman in Chicago. The brief had been "Indian, chic, simple, but very glamorous." With that, Mr. Khan chose the color, embroidery, cut and all other aspects of the gowns. He called the moment of seeing the first lady in his design, "So joyous," continuing, "For me to be part of this historic occasion, being Indian, it is beyond amazing. It is an incredible moment for me."
The menu for the Obama's first state dinner is restrained and fascinating. Most notably, it was meatless, honoring the sensibilities of their honored guests, Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, and deeply Indian in seasonings. It featured honey and produce from the White House kitchen garden and had a somewhat southern tilt, with okra, cornbread, smoked collards and pecan pralines on the menu. Guest chef for the evening was Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit in New York, an American born in Ethiopia, reared in Sweden who is known for his melting pots of flavors and cuisines.
Finally, the table settings and flowers. Also restrained and lovely. Love the use of magnolia blossoms. Love how the Obamas used a bi-partisan combination of Clinton and Bush china. Love the pistachio green mixed with plum, purple, fuschia and gold. Indian colors.