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Michelle Obama wears Jason Wu again at inauguration ball

US First Lady Michelle Obama wears a barebacked bright ruby red gown made of velvet and chiffon and designed by New York-based Taiwanese designer Jason Wu. (AFP PHOTO)

Publication Date : 23-01-2013


US First Lady Michelle Obama wears a barebacked bright ruby red gown designed by New York-based Taiwanese designer Jason Wu


US first lady Michelle Obama once again wore a dress designed by Taiwan-born American designer Jason Wu to her husband's inauguration ball in Washington on January 21.

Wu, the 30-year-old New York-based designer, was surprised and amazed to see the US first lady wearing his design to the ball again.

“To have done it once was already the experience of my life. To have a second time is tremendous,” Wu was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

According to details released by the White House, the dress that Mrs Obama wore during Monday's inauguration ball was barebacked and bright ruby red in colour. It was made from velvet and chiffon. The design paralleled the gown Mrs Obama wore four years ago; a one-shouldered white chiffon dress

Wu said the dress that Mrs Obama wore was the only design he submitted to the White House this time around, adding that the gown reflected how he has matured as a designer and how the first lady's style has grown to be more confident.

The White House stated that after the inauguration celebrations, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History will induct the first lady's dress. The museum has been collecting the inauguration gowns of US first ladies since 1912.

This is the first time for a US first lady to wear the same designer's dress at two inauguration balls since the 1980s when then-first lady Nancy Reagon chose wear James Galanos' gowns to two inaugurations.

The US first lady wore shoes designed by Jimmy Choo and with a handmade diamond-embellished ring by Kimberly McDonald.

Wu's trademark rejected by IPO

Though the outfits designed by Jason Wu were praised by both Taiwan and the US' first ladies, however, Wu's trademark application was rejected by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for not being recognizable, according to a local newspaper report yesterday.

Wu tried to register the trademark of MISS WU in March 2011, saying the brand is specifically for leather products and clothing, but was later denied by the IPO. Wu then filed an appeal to the Intellectual Property Court against the decision, which was rejected.

According to the court verdict, MISS WU is generally recognised as a lady surnamed Wu in Taiwan and the pattern of the trademark was not specially designed. The trademark is not recognisable, thus the IPO rejected the application, the IPO said.

The court said that Wu, the demandant, did not provide statistics such as the brand's sales numbers, turnover and market share rate. The evidence was insufficient to prove that the trademark of MISS WU is well-known to Taiwan's consumers, the court said.

Simon Yeh, a lawyer who is familiar with the Trademark Act, said a trademark is for the consumers to trace the source of a brand. Based on Jason Wu's brandwidth, it is likely easy for consumers to connect MISS WU with Jason Wu, Yeh said.

Wang Mei-hua, director-general of the IPO, said a brand's popularity changes over time. Taiwan and the US' first ladies had worn Wu's outfits on various occasions, showing that the brand has gained in popularity, she said. If Wu provides enough evidence for the trademark this year, it will be possible to register successfully, Wang said.


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