First lady Michelle Obama's dress designer 'still pinching' himself

Michelle Obama

The young, foreign-born designer of Michelle Obama's hotly-anticipated inauguration gown still can't believe his creation caught the first lady's fancy.

"I'm still pinching myself to see that's all real," Jason Wu said today in an interview with NBC's Today Show just hours after the tightly-kept fashion secret was revealed when the Obamas slow-danced at two inaugural balls yesterday at following a day full of fanfare.

The flowing ruby red chiffon and velvet dress complete with a handmade, diamond-embellished ring at the neck came about with close cooperation from Obama's team to achieve just the right fit and the right look, Wu said.

But the 30-year-old, who decked out the stylish mother of two in a one-shouldered white dress for the 2009 balls, said he was clueless until the very end that he was, once again, the first lady's pick for the big night.

"We were... glued to the screen," the Taiwanese-born designer said. "Of course, we have no confirmation until the second she comes out" onto the stage for the first dance with her husband and newly-minted second-term president, Barack.

In another honour for the gown in question, the White House said that it will not languish in Obama's closet but go to the National Archives instead.

"As somebody who moved to America to become a designer, I think (it's) something quite incredible," said Wu, who has met the first lady and described her as "every bit as lovely as she seems on TV".

But going forward, don't expect Wu to sit back and rest on his laurels.

"It was a tremendous experience and continues to be and now I just want to work harder," he said.

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