02/02/2009 at 01:00 AM EST
While the fashion world worked itself into a tizzy trying to figure out who would dress Michelle Obama for the big night, no one was more surprised to see the First Lady's choice than Taipei-born designer Jason Wu. "I found out with everyone else," says the 26-year-old former intern of another Michelle fave, Narciso Rodriguez.
"I wanted the dress to reflect hope, fantasy, a dream [because] this is a pretty surreal moment we're living in," says Wu.
"The dress is silk chiffon with a crepe lining and organza flowers embellished with Swarovski crystals," says the designer. "My four friends and I were sewing on flowers in my studio. I kept putting on flowers after flowers, I didn't know when to stop."
THE PRACTICAL DETAILS
"I wanted it to move beautifully—she had 10 parties to go to," says Wu. "I wanted her to have something that wasn't going to wrinkle, and it had to be something that was going to photograph beautifully."