Designer of Michelle Obama's dress to rush frock into production

Posted at 09/07/12 7:55 AM

NEW YORK - Fashion designer Tracy Reese will rush into production the dress that first lady Michelle Obama wore when she addressed the Democratic National Convention this week, Reese said on Thursday.

The sleeveless dress, which is not yet available in stores, will retail for less than $500, Reese said on NBC's "Today" show.

The first lady's dress was made of raw silk jacquard in a "luminescent" mix of hot pink, rust and copper, Reese said. It had an accent hemline of silver and blue.

"It was something we were planning for later, so we're trying to rush it through the cycle so that more people can get their hands on it sooner," she said.

A spokeswoman for Reese said she did not know exactly when the dress would be available to retail consumers.

Obama, who tends to choose more affordable clothing over high-end couture, is known for boosting the profile of younger American designers when she wears their frocks. Designer Jason Wu enjoyed a huge publicity boost when she wore his one-shouldered white gown during the inaugural celebrations in 2009.

Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, wore a red silk taffeta dress by fashion stalwart Oscar de la Renta during her speech to the Republican National Convention last month in Tampa, Florida.

Reese told the "Today" show she had sent a selection of dresses to the first lady ahead of the Democrats' convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. But while the first lady has worn her designs on some 15 public occasions, Reese said she was taken by surprise.

"Until she stepped out on stage, we didn't know," she said. "She made an excellent choice."

The New York-based designer launched her first collection in 1998 and will present her latest styles at a show on Sunday during New York's Fashion Week.