Michelle Obama chooses Vera Wang gown for China State Dinner

US President Barack Obama

First lady Michelle Obama chose a dress by a Chinese-American designer for Friday's White House dinner for Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mrs. Obama wore a custom-made black, off-the-shoulder mermaid gown by Vera Wang Collection for the occasion. Fitted, with sheer sleeves, it skimmed the floor with its silk organza flounce. Mrs. Obama swept her long hair off to one side.

The first lady has worn Wang's designs before, winning raves for the draped, strapless, electric blue column she donned at The Kennedy Center Honors in 2011.

China's first lady Peng Liyuan, also a fashion icon, selected an embellished silk gown in a rich aquamarine hue. With three-quarter-length sleeves, it boasted intricate beading on its bodice and skirt

That's what White House party planners had in mind for Obama and Xi: The decor for the big East Room spread included a 16-foot silk scroll depicting two roses that the White House says are meant to symbolize "a complete meeting of the minds".

The name of the designer of Peng's gown for the China State Dinner was not immediately available. Xi described his visit as an "unforgettable journey" and praised the good will he felt during his travels from West Coast to East. He called for a "new, historic chapter in U.S.-China relations". "And we will be watching carefully to make an assessment as to whether progress has been made in this area".

Xi countered that "countries have different historical processes and realities" and said nations "choose their own development independently".