Blue belles of the ball: Samantha Cameron and Michelle Obama fly the flag for home designers as they colour co-ordinate their gowns at the White House state dinnerMichelle Obama wore a teal, off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown designed by Georgina Chapman who attended the event
Cameron wore an Alessandra Rich dress, on loan to her from the
London-based designer, and shoes from British retailer NextAs Samantha stepped out of the car the President remarked, ‘Very pretty… They look better than us'
09:44 GMT, 15 March 2012
Michelle Obama chose an
off-the-shoulder Marchesa gown for her duties on Wednesday night as hostess
at a White House state dinner honouring the British prime minister David Cameron and
his wife Samantha.
It was a deep shade of teal in a draped, column silhouette, which complimented the outfit worn by Samantha.
designer of the gown, Georgina Chapman, and her husband, movie mogul
Harvey Weinstein, were guests at the affair, but they did not know Michelle was wearing one of Chapman's designs when they arrived. 'I'm knocked out,' Weinstein said.
First ladies: Michelle Obama wore an off-the-shoulder teal Marchesa gown while Samantha Cameron opted for a dress by
London-based designer Alessandra Rich
A relative unknown, London-based Rich is famed for her austere gowns with flashes of colour and this one had been loaned to the PM’s wife by the designer
Similar dresses to the one favoured by the American first lady retail for around $6,000.
not surprisingly, also wore Marchesa, which has made its name on
Hollywood red carpets. Hers was a draped blue and grey gown with a sheer
overlay, and covered in crystal embroidery.
Samantha colour-coordinated and wore blue too – her lace gown by London-based designer
Alessandra Rich featured lace details, a high neck, half sleeves and a
belted waist. Similar Alessandra Rich gowns are available for around $3,000.
Both ladies continued to support homegrown talent with their choice of designers, and the British first lady surprisingly chose to wear black high heels from high street retailer
BFFs: Samantha and Michelle chat on the red carpet in their colour coordinated gowns before the state dinner in honour of the Brits
Double-take: Michelle checks out Samantha's demure Alessandra Rich dress a number of times while their partners look on
Red carpet: U.S. President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron pose before the state dinner
Greetings: President Barack Obama and Michelle welcome Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha and usher them inside
Affectionate: Michelle reaches out to embrace her friend, right, and the pair show off their elaborate gowns as they make their way into the White House
Michelle has chosen to stick to a U.S designer this time,
Wednesday, the unexpected piece of her look was the chunky, multistrand
silver, turquoise and teal necklace by Tom Binns. Binns also had created
the elaborate necklace the first lady wore last year in London when she
and the president welcomed the British royals to the American
ambassador's home for a black-tie dinner.
'First lady Mrs. Obama always looks
so chic and modern. I love the addition of texture with the Tom Binns
necklace,' said Roksanda Ilincic, who has dressed both Mrs. Obama and
In fact, Michelle wore a purple dress by Ilincic during that same trip to England.
Mrs. Obama and Samantha Cameron have been wonderful. I am honored that
each woman representing their countries have been such advocates in
their respective roles,' Ilincic said.
other fashion plate at the dinner was Vogue editor-in-chief Anna
Wintour, a well-known supporter of President Barack Obama. She wore
Chatty: The couples look at ease with one another and joke and chat ahead of the glittering state dinner hosted by the Obamas
Waiting: US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama await the arrival of British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha Cameron, prior to a State Dinner
Hot seat: Actor George Clooney managed to get a seat beside First Lady Michelle Obama during the State Dinner
Fashionistas: Anna Wintour arrives at the dinner, wearing Chanel, with
her boyfriend Shelby Bryan, left, and the designer of Georgina Chapman,
who designed Michelle's gown, attends with her movie mogul husband
Harvey Weinstein, right
Hip: David and Samantha Cameron are huge fans of British folk band Mumford & Sons who performed at the dinner
SamCam wore a Victoria Beckham dress earlier in the day
If there is one thing the UK state
visit to the U.S. has so far proved, it is that first ladies Michelle
Obama and Samantha Cameron have both perfected the art of clever capsule
dressing, which continued at the dinner with Samantha Cameron pairing her outfit with an Emilia Wickstead belt again.
And there was a further British link when the Prime Minister’s wife later changed into a Victoria Beckham-designed dress for a visit to the National Children’s Centre in Washington.
She opted for a pair of LK Bennett shoes and an Emilia Wickstead belt with the maroon dress she had borrowed from Mrs Beckham.
Celebrity endorsements are one thing – Victoria has had models and actresses in her designs – but the PM’s wife choosing one of her creations on an important overseas trip will catapult Mrs Beckham into another league entirely…from the first division to the fashion Premiership, so to speak.
And the dress was a good choice.
Not only do the Americans ‘get’ the Beckhams (ie they actually know who they are), the mid-length number with its red cuffs and sleeves walked the tricky fashion line of being demure yet sexy.
Earlier, at the special preview for tonight's much-anticipated State Dinner, all
it took was a simple removal of a jacket at lunchtime for the First
Lady's outfit to be given a whole new feel, exposing her enviably toned
bare arms and a brooch for a personal touch.
at the event, Mrs
Obama looked polished and neat – and explained to the visiting school
students that while the 'White House is a big place… the kitchen is really teeny… it's a little-bitty kitchen.'
The Zac Posen dress, teamed with a sparkling Kingfisher-esque brooch and navy sash, is part of the
suit she wore to yesterday morning's official welcome ceremony and
is from the American designer's spring/summer 2012 collection.
First Lady, 48, described the planning that goes into the official
dinner and treated the American and British students to a rare glimpse
of the White House's behind-the-scenes goings-on.
the meantime, the British Prime Minister's wife, 40, had stayed in the same Roksanda Ilinic dress, looking
demure as ever in the aqua-sleeved, navy blue and white number which neatly translated from
the formality of the morning's welcome ceremony to a luncheon at the State Department.
had paired the dress with the same belt she wore yesterday and again wore
the classic pumps that she has sported throughout her trip so far.
This morning delivered a dose of unseasonably warm sunshine – and fine fashion choices – to the capital.
SamCam took full advantage of the balmy weather, wearing the
cleanly-cut, bold shift dress and no jacket to the UK state visit's
official welcoming ceremony.
Well dressed: The First Lady paired her white Zac Posen dress with a blue sash belt and a sparkling Kingfisher-esque badge
Picture of elegance: The First Lady removed her suit jacket to reveal a
chic white dress with navy sash as she spoke to visiting school children
at a special State Dinner preview
Sitting pretty: Samantha Cameron listens to her husband speak during the lunch hosted at the State Department
/03/15/article-2115203-122A61B0000005DC-815_470x562.jpg” width=”470″ height=”562″ alt=”Style stakes: Samantha Cameron, left, and Michelle Obama, right, laugh together at today's official welcome ceremony ” class=”blkBorder” />
First wives' club: Looking relaxed and upbeat, the first ladies share a
joke at the official welcome ceremony. SamCam, left, chose a Roksanda
Ilincic while Mobama, right, wore Zac Posen
BFFs: Though relaxed in each others' company, the two stand to attention
as part of the formalities. Their clean-cut outfits make a welcome
contrast to the soft pink backdrop of blossoming magnolia trees
The two first ladies – known for their
individual and confident fashion tastes – stood alongside their husbands
on the White House's South Lawn as a 16-gun salute was fired to honour
the state visit.
A crowd of 7,000 gathered to watch the
formalities as President Obama quipped about the Prime Minister's
British peculiarities and revealed that the PM has a basketball hoop at
Number 10 Downing Street.
But it is not simply state relations
that are close – the President laid a guiding hand on Mrs Cameron's arm
at one point and David Cameron was unafraid of receiving a little public
affection from his supportive wife as she laid a hand on his derriere.
Indeed, the President made a special mention of Mrs Cameron on her first official state visit.
dictated by diplomatic traditions, the two couples have swapped
presents. The Camerons gave the Obamas a personalised table tennis table
and in return received a BBQ grill and personalised chefs whites.
Tactile: President Obama puts a guiding hand onto Samantha Cameron's arm while the reaches out to her husband – the two power couples seem at very ease together, while Samantha lays a protective hand on her husband's derriere at the official ceremony
gifts included a Jonathan Saunders scarf from Mrs Cameron to the First
Lady, reflecting her fashion-driven career and tastes as a flag-bearer
for the British Fashion Council, a set of Penguin classics for the Obama
girls and White House honey in a crystal honey jar for Mrs Cameron.
Dignitaries including Vice-President
Joe Biden and Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton flanked the podium,
where they were joined by Chancellor George Osborne and other senior
members of the UK delegation.
As much as the
relationship-strengthening trip is about official state business, all
eyes are bound to be on the wives tonight at the highly-anticipated
black tie state ball.
Chosen gown designers, kept under wraps
until the very last moment, can look forward to a flurry of attention
following tonight's exposure and the First Lady has in the past been
known to propel unknown designers into the mainstream – such as Jason Wu
– by wearing just one of their creations.
Yesterday, Mrs Cameron and her
American counterpart visited DC's American University where they took
part in a mini-Olympics event.
A very presidential joke: The dignitaries laugh together, giving the occasion an upbeat air
Out in force: It's all smiles today in DC as the friendly foursome wave to the gathered crowd in the warm sunshine
The influential wives came together
in a riot of colour – with the First Lady's bright yellow cardigan
contrasting vividly with Mrs Cameron's fuschia number.
Saluting American designers, Mobama paired her L'Wren Scott cashmere cardigan with a floral ruffled shirt by the same designer.
A pair of wide-legged white trousers again contrasted with the form-fitting black cigarette trousers sported by SamCam.
Courtside view: At yesterday's mini-Olympics event, the two first ladies
created a riot of colour, their bright hues contrasting vividly
tennis in heels and looking as unflappable as ever, Mrs Obama impressed
with her willingness to get involved in the activities.
The pair laughed with students and
sports players at the event, a nod towards to forthcoming London
Olympics Games and to the First Lady's Let's Move campaign.
SamCam paired her pink top and dark belt with the same Joseph cigarette trousers she wore as she landed in the country.
British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha walk down the stairs from the plane upon arrival their at Andrews Air Force Base in Baltimore
Earlier in the day, Mrs Cameron
arrived with her husband David in the U.S. at Baltimore, Maryland Airforce base in a black $935
Burberry trenchcoat from the coveted label's 2012 spring/summer collection.
While a stylish – and ultimately, safe, choice – the coat may have been a questionable move given the unusually warm March day.