By Mary N. DiZazzo

"The gowns caused a great deal of comment because they were the first all American-made to be worn to an inaugural."

--Edith Mayo, curator emeritus of the First Ladies exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Ciao bella,

The above quote is about First Lady Caroline Harrison's high profile moment to reinforce her husband's campaign theme. Benjamin Harrison had campaigned on the protection of home industries.

Today, as in the early years of the Republic, the impression the First Lady makes with her choice of inaugural ball gown will influence society.

The ever-popular Jacqueline Kennedy had a flair for fashion that the public adored. She designed her gown herself and tailored it for her. The finished masterpiece of simple elegance was a sleeveless ivory sheath with a matching cape perfectly suited to Kennedy's graceful style. It was such high fashion and she looked gorgeous in it capturing positive attention.

Another dress that holds high popularity among the public is Maimie Eisenhower's 1953 inaugural gown. The pink silk gown is embroidered with 2,000 rhinestones and its full skirt and gathered waist are truly 1950s in their design.

Florence Kling Harding's 1921 gown and wrap evoked the flapper era -- an iridescent dress made of tulle adorned with pearlized sequins and gold beads.

According to the New York Daily News, the latest buzz on Laura Bush's inaugural dress is that it'll be an Oscar de la Renta creation. The inaugural gown will be scrutinized around the world just as First Ladies' gowns have been for hundreds of years.

Buona giornata.


Have you missed any of Mary's columns in the Post-Gazette? Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns on her website She is a third-generation cosmetologist and owner of Mary for Nails, etc. natural nailcare salon in Andover, and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183. She also sees select clients by appointment in Boston at (617) 742-6881.