PHOTOS: First lady inaugural ball fashion through the years

Saturday, January 21, 2017 06:50AM
President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd with first lady Melania Trump at the Freedom Ball, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)
President Donald Trump dances with Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Catherine Cartmell as first lady Melania Trump is spun by Army Staff Sgt. Jose A. Medina at a ball on Jan. 21, 2017. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive to dance together at an Inaugural Ball, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at the Washington Convention Center. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)
First lady Michelle Obama arrives at the Commander-in-Chief's Inaugural Ball in Washington on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)
First lady Michelle Obama acknowledges applause as she arrives at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
First lady Michelle Obama moves her dress train as she dances with President Barack Obama at the Youth Inaugural Ball in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (Charles Dharapak/AP Photo)
First lady Laura Bush, right, appears with her daughters Jenna, center, and Barbara, at The Constitution Ball at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush dance at the Freedom Ball during inauguration festivies in Washington Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. (Paul Sancya/AP Photo)
This Jan. 20, 2001 file photo shows first lady Laura Bush waving as she arrives on stage for a Presidential Inaugural Ball at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington. (Doug Mills, File/AP Photo)
President and Mrs. Bush smile as they are welcomed by supporters at the Salute to Heroes and Veterans Banquet in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2001. (Doug Mills/AP Photo)
President Clinton and his wife, first lady Hillary Clinton, dance at the New England Ball Monday, Jan. 20, 1997, in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)
President Clinton begins to dance with his wife Hillary at the Air and Space Ball Monday, Jan. 20, 1997, in Washington. (Ron Edmonds/AP Photo)
President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton appear at the MTV Ball at the Washington Convention Center Jan. 20, 1993. (Shayna Brennan, files/AP Photo)
U.S. President and Mrs. Bush dance during an inaugural ball at the Washington Convention Center at night, Friday, Jan. 21, 1989.
U.S. President George Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush attend one of the Inaugural Balls, Friday, Jan. 21, 1989. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)
In this Jan. 21, 1985 file photo, President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan arrive at the inaugural ball in the Washington Hilton. (Ira Schwarz/AP Photo)
In this Jan. 20, 1981 file photo, President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan dance at an inaugural ball at the Pension Building in Washington. (AP Photo, File)
President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter are pictured with their daughter Amy at the first of seven inaugural balls in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 20, 1977. (AP Photo)
President Jimmy Carter holds his wife Rosalynn's hand as she says a few words at an inaugural party in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 21, 1977. (AP Photo)
President Nixon and his wife Pat hold hands as they greet at the Shoreham Hotel Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 1969. (AP Photo)
President Nixon, right, and his family prepare to leave the White House to attend six inaugural balls, in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 1969. (AP Photo)
This Jan. 18, 1965, file photo shows President-elect Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, acknowledge a salute from cheering Democrats at the inaugural gala in Washington. (AP Photo/File)
President and Mrs. John Kennedy leave the White House January 20, 1961 for a tour of inaugural balls. (AP Photo)
At Friday night's inaugural balls, Melania Trump got her first opportunity as first lady to show off her fashion sense at a formal event.

She wore an ivory column gown reportedly designed by the former creative director of Carolina Herrera, Herve Pierre.

Celebrating the new president with a ball is a tradition that dates all the way back to our first president, when one was held in George Washington's honor in New York City, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies. It was not until 1809, however, that the first official inaugural ball was held in Washington, D.C.

Typically there is more than one inaugural ball. President Donald Trump and Melania attended three. The all-time record for inaugural balls goes to Bill Clinton in 1997, with 14 balls.

But when it comes to fashion at these distinguished events, all eyes are on the first lady.

See the dresses the first ladies wore to recent inaugural balls and galas in the gallery above.
(Copyright ©2018 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)