My interest in state dinners are all about details: protocols, attire, guest list, entertainment, menu. I’m collecting a little data from last night’s dinner honoring Chinese President Hu Jintao.

From jump

First Lady Michelle Obama looked FABULOUS

This dress outshines everything on the red carpet of the Golden Globes Sunday. (IMO)

House Alexander McQueen produced this stunning gown. The hands on-designer is creative director Sarah Burton. From a cultural perspective, the color was perfect – red, symbol of fire, courage, the south, fortune, success, passion, fertility, happiness. Red is good. Red is great! Red looks fabulous on the First Lady.

Blurb from NY Times Cathy Horyn:
Made for the McQueen’s 2011 resort collection, the style originally came with short sleeves, which Mrs. Obama evidently had altered to suit her taste. Most of all, her choice had a just enough pomp to signal the importance of this state dinner.

UPDATE: This just in from Robin Givhan, now culture and style editor for The Daily Beast/Newsweek. Robin is settling into her new job after 15 years as fashion editor for The Washington Post where she became the first fashion journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Robin published her first article for today’s The Daily Beast. And I’ll quote:

In Mrs. Obama’s considered fashion message, her full-skirted dress, from a British design house worn in celebration of a Chinese president, struck a blow for creativity. In grand and sweeping terms, one could argue that it symbolized the ability of a designer’s imagination to cross borders, connect different cultures, and ultimately express itself in a singular moment of beauty.

Yes, those are human rights protesters you hear outside the White House gates. I guess that gave the Chinese president a little taste of our “free speech” customs.

It’s no accident that Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue and designer Vera Wang (who has design houses in China) were on the guest list. Part of the talks included intellectual property issues. Fashion, IT and entertainment have been the commercial victims of China’s casual acquaintance with copyright, especially when the country’s national appetites for designer labels and the latest media gadgets and block busters are on the rise with a growing consumer class.

Two former U.S. Presidents were guests: Jimmy Carter and William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton (the Secretary of State’s date).

But this didn’t deter American business tycoons from attempting to get an audience with President Hu even if the Speaker of the House John Boehner declined attending the state dinner in favor of a meeting with Chinese president on his “Hill turf. Afterwards, President Hu goes to Chicago.

Dinner was in the Blue Room of the White House.
The official menu from the official program (interesting reading):

Surf-and-Turf, pears, spinach. This suspiciously resembles the Food & Folklore menu I posted yesterday. Hmmm.