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Michelle cements style icon status with ruby gown

MICHELLE Obama made it a fashion tradition last night, wearing a custom-made Jason Wu gown to the inaugural balls.

The ruby-coloured dress was a follow-up to the white gown Wu made for her four years ago when she was new to Washington, the pomp and circumstance, and the fashion press.

She now emerged as a bona fide trendsetter.

"I can't believe it. It's crazy," said Wu, from his Manhattan studio as he was trying to share the news with his parents in Taiwan. "To have done it once was already the experience of my life. To have a second time is tremendous."

The red halter dress was the only one Wu, who went from fashion insider to household name on this night in 2009, submitted for Mrs Obama's consideration.

The first family headed out to inaugural festivities earlier yesterday with Mrs Obama leading a very coordinated fashion parade in a navy-silk, checkered-patterned coat and dress by acclaimed menwear designer Thom Browne. The pattern was inspired by a man's necktie.

Malia Obama had on a plum-coloured J Crew coat with the hemline of an electric-blue dress peeking out and a burgundy scarf.

Her younger sister Sasha had on a Kate Spade coat and dress in a similar purple shade.