Former First Lady’s Grammy dress raises cache of Indian designers

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Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, former first lady Michelle Obama and Jada Pinkett Smith. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

This Feb. 11, when former First Lady Michelle Obama appeared on the Grammy stage in a surprise appearance, Indian designers Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia were thrilled she was wearing their creation.

The cache of this duo as go-to designers for all sizes went up several notches, and from the account they gave to Vogue India, it was a surprise that Obama decided to wear their creation to the Grammy’s.

“Michelle Obama rocks the house with a surprise appearance at the 61st Annual #Grammys in custom Sachin & Babi. We are forever grateful for the amazing opportunity.” they tweeted, adding  in another tweet, “Such an honor and privilege to dress former First Lady @MichelleObama in a custom Sachin & Babi look! Our very own sequin Queen,” with photos of Obama in a green sequin top and pants on stage.

In a Feb. 15, piece in Vogue India, the magazine called the duo, “a red carpet got-to for Hollywood’s curvier celebrities, including Mindy Kaling, Octavia Spencer and the former First Ladyof the United States herself.”

They were first approached two weeks before the Grammys, by Obama’s stylist Meredith Koop, Babi Ahluwalia told Vogue India. “It was not really intended for the Grammys,” Ahluwalia is quoted saying, as Koop indicated it was for the book tour that Michelle Obama is on for the best-selling, “Becoming.” Koop indicated that Obama loved jewel tones, and Ahluwalia wanted to surprise her with a new creation since it was going to be their first for the former First Lady, the interview reveals.

After the dress was shipped out, “I got an email the Thursday before the Grammys saying the fitting went fine, but that it may not be for the book tour and that she was going to do something special with it,” Babi Ahluwalia told Vogue India. But they thought that meant it was a no-go, until it appeared on the television screen, worn by Michelle Obama in her surprise appearance.

In their Vogue India interview which was conducted at their Lower Manhattan atelier, the Ahluwalias spoke about how they took a year to change their branding after feedback from fans of larger sizes and pleas from consumers saying “Make this in my size.” They now create sizes from 2 to 20, and even their e-commerce website now shoots models in sizes from four to six and size 14, instead of the earlier zeros and twos, Sachin Ahluwalia told Vogue India.

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