Michelle Obama Wore Chainmail to Her Final State Dinner, and It Was Spectacular

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Michelle Obama is a hell of a lot more than her clothes. She is a lawyer with degrees from Princeton and Harvard, and one of the best public speakers any of us will ever see. On top of all the important things she does on a daily basis being a remarkably stylish dresser is basically gilding the lily, but she does it anyway, and she does it really well. Obama always makes thoughtful sartorial choices that go way beyond “does this look pretty” to make a meaningful statement or pay tribute to a guest, and it’s wonderful to see. It’s a shame that last night was her last state dinner as First Lady of the United States, because Michelle Obama wore chainmail, and boy, did she ever pick a stunner to go out in.

I mean, just click here and look at this thing.

Last night the White House held a dinner in honor of Italian Prime mInister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini. Michelle Obama wore a spectacular rose gold draped gown by Donatella Versace that made her look like the Statue of Liberty, but in a good way. And it was made out of chainmail.

(Related: Michelle Obama Delivered a Passionate Speech Against Trump’s ‘Intolerable’ Comments About Women)

Chainmail is for armor, but here it is draped elegantly, with one sleeve falling gracefully off her left shoulder. The dress is glorious, and the material choice makes a strong statement about strength and fighting.

Michelle Obama usually wears American designers, but for her last state dinner she chose Atelier Versace, which is Italian. The New York Times‘ Vanessa Friedman describes it as “a nice bit of sartorial diplomacy” and a friendly gesture towards her guests.

“We always take into account where we are going and that country’s cultural norms,” Michelle Obama’s fashion advisor, Meredith Koop, said to Harper’s Bazaar. “The goal is to pay tribute to each place we visit [while] never losing the spirit of the United States.”

A Versace spokeswoman said that the gown was designed especially for Obama by Donatella Versace, who said: “I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to dress the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Thank you Michelle for all the things you did for America and for the rest of the world, for the women in the U.S. and the rest of the world.”

A lot of work goes into the construction and selection of these gowns. In addition to the designers and photographers and the PR people at the couture houses, there are scores of stitchers, cutters, and other craftspeople who devote their lives to the construction of gowns like this. Those people are probably sitting at home right now, pointing at these photos and shouting, “That’s our dress! She’s wearing our dress!”

In the interest of acknowledging the artists and craftspeople behind these dresses, Agnese Landini’s black lace gown is by Ermanno Scervino, an Italian fashion label that was founded in 2000 and is known for producing all its goods in Italy.

It’s a bit bittersweet to think that this is Michelle Obama’s last state dinner as First Lady, but whatever she does when she leaves the White House, we’ll hopefully be seeing a lot of her.