The fashion industry understands that it's never merely selling a shirt or a dress. It's selling fantasy. It's selling us the glossiest version of ourselves. True, there are always political considerations at stake whenever, say, a state dinner is being planned. Just how lavish is too lavish in a time of economic uncertainty, even for a White House tasked with entertaining a head of state in high style? But designers have long known there's a difference between an evening that is creative and one that's just obscenely expensive.