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Mrs Obama’s ‘nude’gown sparks race row

Michelle Obama’s evening gown at the State dinner in White House has sparked off a controversy over the description of the dress’s colour.

entertainment Updated: May 20, 2010 20:09 IST

From the moment she stepped into the limelight, Mrs Obama was hailed as the ''First Lady of Fashion'', the lady who could carry off High Street buys and glittering designer gowns with equal panache.

However, her choice of gown for a State dinner has sparked a debate about race and the delicate matter of whether one can call a dress colour 'nude' when it really depends on the wearer.

The dress was described by the designer as a "sterling-silver sequin, abstract floral, nude strapless gown".

"We talk of nude now and there is no one colour. It's politically incorrect,” The Telegraph quoted Gale Epstein, a lingerie storeowner as saying.

"There is a wide range for skin tone colours. Human skins tones are a whole colour palette unto themselves," Epstein added.

Epstein prefers to use a range of names, from 'light chai' to 'espresso', to describe her wares.

The row must have weighed down on the designer Naeem Khan, who was overjoyed to get this chance of being part of this historic occasion.

He, however, refused to comment on the controversy that seems to be swirling around the dress he designed.

Fashion designers like Vijay Arora and Anjana Bhargav have rubbished such views and said that there’s nothing politically incorrect nor racial about the description of the dress and that people should stop reading too much into such things.

Mrs Obama has been keen to showcase an international array of designers, wearing an outfit by Cuban-American Isabel Toledo for her husband''s inauguration ceremony and a dress by the Taiwanese-born Jason Wu on the cover of Vogue.

Until now, the biggest controversy over Mrs Obama's appearance was her decision to appear sleeveless in her first official portrait as First Lady, which some critics claiming the bare arms look was too informal for the occasion.

First Published: May 20, 2010 12:55 IST