Fashion & Beauty

Strutting Their Stuff at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

May 11, 2014

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On the left, "House of Cards's" Constance Zimmer in a dress by a Russian designer, and right, supermodel Anne V at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Anne V wears a 4-ply-crepe bandage dress by FrancoKaufman. / Photos by Mark Finkenstaedt.

On the left, “House of Cards’s” Constance Zimmer in a dress by a Russian designer, and right, supermodel Anne V at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Anne V wears a 4-ply-crepe bandage dress by FrancoKaufman. / Photos by Mark Finkenstaedt.

To see some of the best gowns and getups at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, see FW online.

LET OTHERS TALK about which media outfits got the biggest stars to come to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night, May 4. In covering the event for MyLittleBird and Fashion Washington, I  plunged right into the underworld of pre-parties to ask the most important question: “Who made your dress?”

Marking the 100th anniversary of the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the group’s 94th yearly dinner, the event has morphed into four days of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and publicity gimmicks, not to mention the actors, models and tech gazillionaires on loan to Washington for the long weekend.

Say what you will about the injection of celebritude into the serious subject of political coverage, the Hollywood crowd that now routinely descends on Washington for the festivities has definitely caused D.C. denizens to up their fashion game. Long gone are the days when officials’ wives donned a “silk shell,” a long skirt and sensible pumps and called it evening wear.

In answer to our designer question, we got a wide range of answers, from Carolina Herrera (Katherine Bradley) and Stella McCartney (Lucy Page) and Victoria Beckham (Anne Wojcicki) to “It’s vintage,” “I borrowed it from a friend,” a shrugged “This old thing?” (Diane Sawyer) and a panicked “I have no idea!!” (Lally Weymouth).

Arguably the best response came from Christine Lagarde. The tall, elegant Frenchwoman, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, pivoted obediently for the camera in her beaded gown. But when we asked our question–Who made the dress?–she put her index finger to her smiling lips, winked and said, “Shhhh.”

Aha! An influencer who appreciates the complicated intersection of fashion, politics and commercial endorsement. And she doesn’t even cover the White House!

–Nancy McKeon

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