First Lady shimmers in expensive gown at low-key state dinner

President and Mrs. Obama hosted a decidedly more subtle state dinner for German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House Tuesday evening.

Though Mr. Obama presented Merkel with his highest honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the dinner otherwise lacked the glitz and glamour of the Obama administration-- with one noticeable exception.

First Lady Michelle Obama wore a shimmery ivory sleeveless gown by Naeem Khan, a designer she favors and also donned at the president's first state dinner in 2009.

Naeem Khan gowns retail from $5,000-$15,000.

Khan told the Wall Street Journal the first dress he made for Mrs. Obama was "priceless."

Known for her fashion, Mrs. Obama accessorized Tuesday with gold bangles by Alexis Bittar, which range in cost from $145-$695 per bracelet.

The first lady had also worn a dress from Diane Von Furstenberg's new spring line to greet Merkel at the White House earlier.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sported designer attire Tuesday evening as well, though she told reporters the cream-colored Tierry Mugler gown was "very old."

Other guests were seemingly dressed more modestly. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told press her navy gown cost $170 and her shoes, $29, a point she was happy to make during a bleak economy.

Before dinner, the president held a joint press conference with the German chancellor where he took questions on jobs and economic conditions. "I am concerned about the fact that the recovery that we're on is not producing jobs as quickly as I want it to happen."

This, perhaps, is a reason why the event was more low-key.

The Rose Garden event did not include big celebrity names like dinners previously thrown by the Obamas for the Indian and Chinese heads of state, which have drawn stars like Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg and Eva Longoria.

James Taylor, who provided the dinner's entertainment, was the guest list's only celebrity standout name.

Tuesday's guest list was heavier on fundraisers, administration officials and other key campaign figures, including outgoing economic adviser Austan Goolsbee and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.).