(CNN) – While political junkies love the inauguration for its historical significance, other people just want to see Michelle Obama’s dress. People in the fashion industry want to know “who” will Michelle Obama will be wearing on Inauguration Day.
In 2009, when the First Lady walked out on stage in a memorable white gown by Jason Wu, overnight the designer became a household name.
“I mean I was screaming at the top of my lungs,” Woo said recalling that night. “I mean It was like that’s me!”
So who will be the luck one four years later?
“It’s really brilliant what she’s done in keeping it a secret, I have to say,” Eric Wilson, of the New York Times, said. “In the previous administrations, while there was always interest in what the First Lady wore, there was never this kind of red carpet moment.”
Sources close to the process said what started out as a 20 designer field for the inaugural gown has now whittled down to two.
One is likely a New York-based designer and quite possibly one that is emerging versus established.
Because these designers don’t have direct access to the First Lady, they have mannequins made in her likeness that live in their studios.
“Some people would compare it to dressing Anne Hathaway at the Golden Globes,” Wilsonsaid. “But I would say it’s more like if you dress every celebrity at the Golden Globes. It’s that much exposure.”
By one estimate a single appearance by the First Lade in a designer’s clothes is worth $14 million. Tally up all of her public appearances for the year and that’s a nearly $3 billion boost to the fashion industry.
So what will Michelle Obama’s gown look like this year? If the past is any guide, Mrs. Obama tends to favor strapless and one-shoulder gowns – fitted at the waist and lots of color.
For the inauguration, the First Lady will not be wearing clothes off the rack. We can pretty safely say these are made-to-measure, one-of-a-kind garments commissioned by the White House.