It was an evening of haute couture and cold champagne when the state societies from Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina hosted a “Celebration of Inaugural Style” Monday at Neiman Marcus in Chevy Chase.
Make-up artists instructed guests on how to paint a smokey eye or draw a pouty lip while models mingled throughout the crowd wearing the latest in ball gowns and cocktail dresses.
With inaugural ball season still weeks away ladies (and one gentleman!) indulged in goat cheese balls, rosemary chicken puffs and giant, donkey-shaped iced cookies with seemingly no concern about pouring into formal wear come January.
Through the years fashions have changed with presidents, but one look that will always be in style for inaugural balls, says Martha Slagle, Neiman Marcus general manager, is long dresses.
“While it does depend on the venue, for the most part, women should go with a long gown for inaugural balls,” suggests Slagle.
The store showcased gowns from top designers like Oscar de La Renta, J. Mendel and Tadashi in prices ranging from $300 to $10,000. Dark metallic and vibrant jewel tones were worn most by the models, hinting that silver, blue and purple dresses may rule the dance floors on inauguration night. Nary a classic pearl in sight, Lucite bangle bracelets and dangle earrings decorated the models with every dress change throughout the night.
While guests debated what they might wear to one of Washington’s biggest nights, the biggest question remains what (and which designer) will the First Lady wear? Slagle predicts Mrs. Obama might don another new designer, as she did four years ago with that now famous one-shouldered Jason Wu gown.
“She will surprise us,” says Slagle of the First Lady, “She always keeps us guessing.”