State dinner for Korea preview: Michelle Obama’s dresses; a history of state dinners

Updated: Follow Washington Post’s live tweeting of state dinner arrivals

State dinner menu, entertainment

What will Michelle Obama wear to the state dinner for Korea? Might she dare try a haute-couture hanbok? (Sorry: the traditional Korean gown. But you knew that. Everything you need to know about hanboks is at ArtsPost, including a picture of Britney Spear wearing one.) Anyway, simmer down, people — we’re still hours away from seeing Michelle’s dress. But in the meantime, please review Mrs. Obama’s past fashion choices for diplomatic affairs.

What are state dinners for, anyway? Monica Hesse explores the hazy history of these high-protocol banquets. Not as old a tradition as you think: The first state dinner was probably 1874, in honor of King Kalakaua of the Sandwich Islands (later Hawaii), but the practice didn’t really take hold until after WWII, when jet travel made these visits routine. Good memories here: The gaffe-filled 1976 visit of Queen Elizabeth. . . Princess Di and John Travolta. . . Michaele Salahi. . .

UPDATED, 10 p.m. Read also:

Doo-Ri Chung talks about her state dinner dress for Michelle Obama, 9:25 p.m.

South Korea state dinner guest list, 6:29 p.m.

Michelle Obama’s South Korea state dinner dress, 7:32 p.m.

State dinner menu, entertainment, 5:40 p.m.

State dinner for Korea preview: Michelle Obama’s dresses; a history of state dinners, 10/13/11

State dinner guest David Kim, and how he almost missed it, 10/12/11

White House state dinner for Korea: We try to guess the guests, 10/5/11

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