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New First Lady Chooses Violet Sheath for Ball Gown

January 20, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The gown Hillary Rodham Clinton will wear to tonight’s inaugural balls and make part of American history is a violet sheath with leaf-patterned lace covered by a big overskirt of blue-violet chiffon.

The work of 37-year-old New York designer Sarah Phillips, it has a fitted bodice and long sleeves and eventually will go alongside the gowns of dozens of other first ladies at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.

It’s considered a traditional design, not really cutting-edge fashion, but very pretty, said designers.

For the swearing-in ceremony, Mrs. Clinton chose a near ankle-length double-breasted wool coat in cadet blue with classic princess lines and gently swept skirt, the inaugural committee said.

Four handmade buttons on the coat, two at the waist and two at the collar, are covered with double-faced silk satin. Mrs. Clinton also wore a coordinating hat by Darcy Creech with a turned up front brim, described by some as a feminine version of a man’s gambler or derby hat.

She also wore a two-piece muted plaid inaugural suit in a melange of color and texture by Connie Fails, accompanied by a fuchsia cashmere turtle neck.

Mrs. Clinton has been favoring bright colors and flowing coats this week.

Today she emerged from Blair House for a morning church service sporting a rose-red turtleneck and red-and-white plaid skirt and jacket trimmed with a navy blue collar.

On Tuesday morning, she wore a carnation red cashmere dress by California designer Cliff Chally with long sleeves and a matching belt for a visit to Arlington National Cemetery.

Her Leslie Fay black wool coat with a faux fur trim was set off by a wool multicolored floral print scarf.

During the afternoon, she switched to a Connie Fails purple wool jersey dress with a turtleneck, long sleeves and trumpet skirt and wore a colorful Connie Fails coat to celebrate the Salutes to Youth and Children at the Kennedy Center.

The coat ″was a whimsical, multicolored print with a parrot motif, which was made for a celebration for children,″ said Mrs. Clinton’s office. Faux mouton forms the collar and deep cuffs.

For the Presidential Gala on Tuesday evening, Mrs. Clinton chose a red lace and silk Martha Dixon gown with jewel neckline and lace bodice adorned with satin ribbons and beads with a silk pleated skirt descending to the floor.