Stars Descend on White House for Obamas' Final State Dinner

The guest list includes Jerry Seinfeld, Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani.

ByABC News
October 18, 2016, 11:12 PM

— -- The Obamas hosted their final state dinner at the White House Tuesday night, and they're going out with a bang.

"Today is bittersweet for Michelle and I because this marks the final official visit and state dinner of my presidency. But it’s OK. We saved the best for last," the president said ahead of the dinner.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama held the dinner to honor Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini.

The first lady wore a custom-made gown designed especially for her by Donatella Versace, according to Versace. The dress is a fitted, floor-length, rose gold chainmail gown with delicate draping details and an asymmetrical off-the-shoulder neckline.

Donatella Versace said in a statement, "I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to dress the first lady of the United States Michelle Obama. Thank you Michelle for all of the things you have done for America and for the rest of the world, for the women in the United States and the rest of the world."

"Women's Wear Daily" also noted of the first lady, "She also tried out another new look wearing her hair pencil-straight, similar to Donatella Versace's signature style."

President Obama was caught making small talk with the Italian prime minister as they entered the White House, recounting what he told the first lady tonight.

"Nobody cares about what we wear," he said. "All they're looking at is you."

The first lady's Italian counterpart wore a gown by Florentine designer Ermanno Scervino, according to the Italian press.

The guest list includes some of Hollywood's biggest stars, including Jerry Seinfeld, Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean, and James Taylor. Fashion designers Giorgio Armani and Naeem Khan are also attending.

    During the pasta- and wine-fueled dinner President Obama and prime minister Renzi addressed the upcoming election.

    As the president toasted Renzi, he compared the election to an epic Italian poem.

    "Some days our presidential campaigns can seem like something out of 'Dante’s Inferno,'" the president said.

    Renzi took his own turn commenting on the campaign by praising Michelle Obama for taking on Donald Trump's treatment of women.

    "Michelle, your tomatoes are great. But after the last weeks, let me be very frank -- your speeches are better than your tomatoes," Renzi said, to a roar of applause and laughter from the audience. "Thank you so much. Thank you so much, as Prime Minister, but thank you so much as father of a young daughter."

    It was the 13th and final state dinner of the Obama White House.

    "Welcome to the final state dinner of my presidency," he said. "In the immortal words of a great Italian-American, Yogi Berra -– it aint’ over till it’s over."

    President Obama said that he and the first lady wanted to treat the soiree "like a typical Italian Sunday dinner -- surrounded by family and great friends, paisan and great pasta."

    The president also offered a small toast to the first lady, and her Italian counterpart.

    "Matteo and I both married up and because of our wives we eat better," Obama said. "We dress better. We are better and we thank you both."

    Gwen Stefani, who was accompanied by her boyfriend, Blake Shelton, will perform for the guests, and celebrity chef Mario Batali prepared classic Italian dishes with an American twist. Batali had said he was planning to wear his signature orange Crocs.

    The menu consists of a sweet potato agnolotti first course; a warm butternut squash salad with frisee and pecorino, and a beef braciole pinwheel with horseradish gremolata and broccoli rabe. For dessert, guests will be treated to green apple crostata with thyme caramel and buttermilk gelato as well as a petit fours display entitled “Celebrating Autumn’s Harvest.” And yes, there are wine pairings.

    White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford said the planning for the meal started in August and included a taste test for the first lady at Batali’s New York City restaurant Babbo.

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