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Michelle Obama’s Cocktail Dress From Christmas Special Goes to Auction

Jul 21, 2023

Sotheby’s has unveiled the full contents of its Fashion Icons sale, and it has focused on many notable women in the public eye, including former First Lady Michelle Obama.

The upcoming auction will include Obama’s vintage Norman Norell black lace dress from TNT’s “Christmas in Washington 2010.” Michelle Obama wore the minimalist and classic black dress as President Barack Obama, who wore a black suit, white shirt and red tie, took to the stage to speak at the event. The family opted for an all-black clothing affair, as their youngest daughter Sasha Obama wore a black dress with a black-and-white polka dot bodice and their eldest daughter Malia Obama wore a black fringe dress with a gold belt.

Michelle’s Norman Norell dress was a vintage ’50s piece. Norell, who lived from 1900 to 1972, was a renowned American fashion designer known for his elegant gowns and tailored silhouettes.

Norell’s career in fashion spanned more than five decades, and he began his career at Paramount Studios as a costume designer. During his career as a fashion designer, Norell amassed many high-profile clients, including Oscar nominee Lauren Bacall and former first ladies Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lady Bird Johnson.

When Michelle first debuted the Norell dress, it was sourced from the archive of New York Vintage. The Manhattan boutique is located in the city’s Chelsea neighborhoods and its archives date back to the 1800s with pieces ranging from Charles Frederick Worth to Chanel.

“When I thought about curating the Fashion Icons sale, I wanted every piece to have its own story,” said Cynthia Houlton, global head of fashion and accessories. “Michelle Obama is the most stylish first lady I think we’ve had since Jackie Kennedy. I absolutely wanted to have something worn by Michelle in this auction.”

The annual “Christmas in Washington” celebration is a holiday musical celebration that benefits the Children’s National Medical Center. Barack and Michelle Obama annually attended the event during their tenure as president and first lady.

In addition to Michelle’s Norman Norell gown, the Fashion Icons auction will include two pieces from Diana, Princess of Wales, including her famous sheep sweater and her Murray Arbeid gown.

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