First Lady Michelle Obama chose a floral gown made of Kashmiri fabric and embroidery by Indian-American designer Naeem Khan for dinner on the concluding day of the Obamas’ visit to Cuba last week. “The dress Michelle Obama selected for the Cuban dinner was in a Kashmiri fabric,” the New York Times reported. “It was embroidered with an Indian floral motif, and was similar to one in the same fabric from the designer’s pre-fall collection,” it added. The embroidery on the gown was Kashmir’s traditional “Ari work”. The dinner’s dress code was “casual cocktail”.
Celebrated designer Khan told the media “after what America has done for me, coming from India, I need to give back to this country. She (Michelle Obama) has made my brand and put America back in fashion,” he said. “I would do anything for her.” Barack Obama is the first US President since 1928 to undertake a three-day visit to Cuba along with his wife Michelle Obama and senior officials.
Speculation ran to two prominent Cuban-American designers whose work Mrs. Obama has championed: Isabel Toledo, whose canary-yellow dress and coat she wore to her husband’s first inauguration, and Narciso Rodriguez, whom she has worn several times, most recently to the State of the Union address in January.
In the end, Mrs. Obama went with Naeem Khan, the Indian-American designer she has worn often. “I had sent her a couple of different things,” Mr. Khan said in an interview on Tuesday morning. “I had no idea. You never know what she’s going to wear. I guess I got pretty lucky.”
Khan is responsible for some of Mrs. Obama’s best looks, including the gown she wore to a state dinner for India in 2009. (Cathy Horyn, then the fashion critic of The New York Times, wrote, “She probably never looked better.”) He has also become something of a family favorite: The first daughters Malia and Sasha Obama wore Naeem Khan dresses for their first appearance at a state dinner at the Canada dinner this month. (“I guess they see their mom in all the glam and want to be like her,” Khan said. “I was very happy when they chose something.”