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WHAT SHOULD JENNA WEAR?
It's a question preoccupying many people in the White House these days as First Daughter Jenna Bush prepares for what is expected to be a spring wedding. Most observers pick May 10 as the date — and not in Washington, which one fashion friend said the Dallas-born Jenna and twin sister Barbara have never considered home.
So with First Lady Laura Bush due in Manhattan later this week for fashion week, WWD decided to lend a helping hand and asked 12 designers to sketch the confections they envision the fair-haired twin should don when she marries Henry Hager. Whatever the First Daughter decides to wear, she is certain to get some fashion advice from her sister, a Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum staffer who is a regular on Gotham's fashion scene — not to mention her mother. After all, while the dark-haired, designer-wearing twin interned at Proenza Schouler and Lela Rose, Laura Bush is the one who carries the clout with heavyweight designers like Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera.
Ever the diplomat, the First Lady has said in interviews that she is "looking forward to having the wedding Jenna wants."
And should the 26-year-old change her mind and wed in the White House — unlikely as that seems — the betrothed Bush would become the ninth daughter of an incumbent president to have a wedding at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. James Monroe's daughter Maria was the first to do so in 1820 and Tricia Nixon was the last one, in 1971.
"I would want Jenna to make the statement, and not just be about the gown itself," said Lela Rose, who recommended a strapless sheath with a little volume on the bottom.
By chance, de la Renta, Vera Wang, Badgley Mischka, Carlos Miele and Amsale also whipped up strapless gowns. Wang, the go-to bridal designer for many celebrities, and J.Mendel designer Gilles Mendel, a favorite of the socialite set, earned overachiever status for submitting two designs each.
A simple and classic silk satin organza dress would emphasize the First Twin's good looks, according to Arnold Scaasi. And should she want a train, he would design a detachable one so "it could be taken off after the ceremony and she could dance the night away. They're young and peppy. Why shouldn't they be able to dance around?"