Michelle Obama’s Portrait Dress Made History. Here’s How It Came Together

While Smith had worked with Obama on several occasions prior to the portrait, the designer was still pleasantly surprised when stylist Meredith Koop approached her to create a custom dress based on a piece from Milly’s spring 2017 collection. Often, several designers are commissioned to create pieces for occasions like this, but only one gets selected, which is why Smith prepared for a different dress to be picked, especially given the printed design. “When they told me the dress that they were interested in from my runway show, I was surprised because it was so kind of fashion-forward and revealing,” says Smith, referring to the often-conservative, solid-colored ensembles that get picked for National Gallery’s portraits. 

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