PHOTOS: First lady inaugural ball fashion through the years

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Saturday, January 21, 2017
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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

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.