Fashion Designers Vie to Dress Michelle Obama for the 2nd Inaugural Ball

Courtesy of White House, Black Market

Will the first lady again choose Jason Wu, who designed her 2008 Inaugural Ball gown, or launch another fashion newcomer?

Which designer will First Lady Michelle Obama choose for her second Inaugural Ball gown?

Twenty designers have reportedly sent clothing to the White House for consideration. The front-runners include Michael Kors, Derek Lam, Naeem Khan, Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu, Bibhu Mohapatra, Thakoon Panichgul, Tracy Reese, Chris Benz, Tory Burch, Narciso Rodriguez, Zac Posen, Maria Cornejo, Thom Browne, Barbara Tfank and Laura Smalls.

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Even White House, Black Market has submitted a sketch -- seen here -- of how it would like to see the first lady look. When Obama wore one of its off-the-rack dresses on ABC's The View in 2008, designer Donna Ricco skyrocketed to fame. Hoping to capitalize on the weekend, the retailer has launched an inauguration-inspired dress collection. On Friday, the collection of nine gowns, priced from $250-$300, will be available in seven of its Beltway area stores.

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THR's sources say the first lady is leaning toward Wu, who designed her first gown worn in 2009. But we won’t know for sure until FLOTUS steps out at the Commander-in-Chief Inaugural Ball Monday night. 

It’s a bit like the Oscars: You never really know until the nominee gets out of her limo and steps on that red carpet.

WWD asked top designers to submit sketches. Tommy Hilfiger chose to focus on the Obama daughters, with designs inspired by American spirit with bold pops of color in classic red, white and blue.

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He explains: “Sasha’s cropped tux jacket over an A-line silk dress takes a youthful twist on her mother’s classic style. Malia has great style, and I thought it would be fun to see her in a fashion-forward tuxedo jumpsuit."

Meanwhile, what will President Obama wear? Out of respect to the job market, which is just starting to slightly improve, perhaps he'll eschew new duds and don a worn-again tux.