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Melania Trump donates inaugural ball gown to Smithsonian

  • First lady Melania Trump and designer Hervé Pierre were at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Friday 
  • The first lady and her inaugural ball gown designer participated in a donation ceremony for the dress, which is on display starting Friday afternoon 
  • Trump and Pierre recalled the tight two week timeline they had to work on to design and create the dress, which the FLOTUS wore to three balls

By Nikki Schwab, U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com

Published: 11:23 EDT, 20 October 2017 | Updated: 12:10 EDT, 20 October 2017

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First lady Melania Trump gave a shout-out to her new hometown Friday, as she participated in a 100-year-old tradition by donating a gown to the Smithsonian.  

'The president, Barron and I love living here and we are so honored to represent this country,' the first lady told a crowd gathered in Flag Hall at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the museum where her inaugural ball gown will now live. 

In her speech, which lasted under four minutes, the first lady admitted procuring a ball gown had slipped her mind, so she made 'poor Hervé,' designer Hervé Pierre, work on a tight two-week deadline to craft the 'gorgeous couture piece.' 

'She sent me first a text message and she said, "It's Melania Trump, can I call you?"' the designer recalled to DailyMail.com. 'And I was like "Ohhh!"' he said, making a gasping noise. 

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First lady Melania Trump briefly spoke at the Smithsonian Friday, as she donated her inaugural ball gown to the National Museum of American History 
First lady Melania Trump briefly spoke at the Smithsonian Friday, as she donated her inaugural ball gown to the National Museum of American History 

First lady Melania Trump briefly spoke at the Smithsonian Friday, as she donated her inaugural ball gown to the National Museum of American History 

Both designer Hervé Pierre (left) and first lady Melania Trump (right) talked about the tight turn-around they had to design what the first lady called a 'gorgeous couture piece' 
Both designer Hervé Pierre (left) and first lady Melania Trump (right) talked about the tight turn-around they had to design what the first lady called a 'gorgeous couture piece' 

Both designer Hervé Pierre (left) and first lady Melania Trump (right) talked about the tight turn-around they had to design what the first lady called a 'gorgeous couture piece' 

Melania Trump participated in a donation ceremony Friday at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History 
Melania Trump participated in a donation ceremony Friday at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History 

Melania Trump participated in a donation ceremony Friday at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History 

First lady Melania Trump sees her inaugural ball gown displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for the first time on Friday 
First lady Melania Trump sees her inaugural ball gown displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for the first time on Friday 

First lady Melania Trump sees her inaugural ball gown displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History for the first time on Friday 

First lady Melania Trump stands alongside her inaugural ball gown Friday at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History as it will be on display at the museum starting today 
First lady Melania Trump stands alongside her inaugural ball gown Friday at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History as it will be on display at the museum starting today 

First lady Melania Trump stands alongside her inaugural ball gown Friday at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History as it will be on display at the museum starting today 

First lady Melania Trump (right) donated her inaugural ball gown to the Smithsonian on Friday. She wore it to three inaugural balls in January including the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural ball 
First lady Melania Trump (right) donated her inaugural ball gown to the Smithsonian on Friday. She wore it to three inaugural balls in January including the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural ball 

First lady Melania Trump (right) donated her inaugural ball gown to the Smithsonian on Friday. She wore it to three inaugural balls in January including the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural ball 

First lady Melania Trump (left) and President Trump (right) dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017 
First lady Melania Trump (left) and President Trump (right) dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017 

First lady Melania Trump (left) and President Trump (right) dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017 

A bow-tied President Trump (right) dances with first lady Melania Trump (left) at the Freedom Ball as part of the 45th presidential inauguration 
A bow-tied President Trump (right) dances with first lady Melania Trump (left) at the Freedom Ball as part of the 45th presidential inauguration 

A bow-tied President Trump (right) dances with first lady Melania Trump (left) at the Freedom Ball as part of the 45th presidential inauguration 

At the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball, first lady Melania Trump (left) danced with a member of the U.S. Marine Corps (right) 
At the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball, first lady Melania Trump (left) danced with a member of the U.S. Marine Corps (right) 

At the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball, first lady Melania Trump (left) danced with a member of the U.S. Marine Corps (right) 

First lady Melania Trump (left) and President Trump (right) are photographed at the last ball of the night, the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball 
First lady Melania Trump (left) and President Trump (right) are photographed at the last ball of the night, the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball 

First lady Melania Trump (left) and President Trump (right) are photographed at the last ball of the night, the Salute to Our Armed Services Inaugural Ball 

The two got on the phone together and the incoming first lady explained that she needed the dress in under two weeks. 

'And I said, "Absolutely,"' he said. 'But of course you panic.'    

Trump, on teleprompter, but speaking more freely than usual, spoke about how, because her husband was a first-time politician, she was focused on preparing for the new administration and an eventual move to Washington – and thus forgot about the dress. 

 'To be honest, what I would wear to the inaugural ball was the last thing on my mind,' she told the crowd, garnering laughs.    

The first lady said she had never worked with the French designer before – who was seated in the front row for Friday's donation ceremony – but had heard of his 'stellar' reputation.   

'I wanted someone who would be willing to collaborate with me and Hervé exceeded my expectations,' she gushed. 'I have had a passion for design from a very young age and had a very precise idea of what I wanted for such a historic evening.'

'When sitting down with Hervé I had to discuss my vision, I expressed a desire to have modern, sleek, light, unique and unexpected,' the first lady added. 

Pierre echoed the first lady when he talked about the experience. 

'It was a wonderful collaboration,' he said, saying their discussions were a 'true conversation' because 'we have the same vocabulary, we have the same passion for fashion.' 

'We have a lot of pressure, but it was an easy process, really,' Pierre told DailyMail.com.  

Trump said she realized it would be a 'daunting task' for the designer, to create something that was mesmerizing 'and will be part of our nation's story and forever history.'  

But he said eventually his panic turned to purpose.  

'It doesn't really help you to panic because at one point you have to be proactive and you have to jump into the task that you are doing,' he said, adding, 'Actually sometimes when you are under pressure that way you are also very creative.' 

The first lady agreed.  

'I was so pleased with our end result and it is now my hope that this piece is one of the many great beginnings to our family's history here in Washington, D.C.,' she said. 

Melania Trump wore the gown to three inaugural balls, dancing with her husband at each and a member of the military at the final ball, dedicated to U.S. troops.  

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