If her Inauguration wardrobe was all-American, the new first lady of the United States chose European luxury brands for her first official public appearances since January 21
If her Inauguration wardrobe choices put America first, Melania Trump chose only European luxury brands to wear on Saturday in Florida, for her first official public appearances since January 21.
According to US Vogue & WWD, she wore Givenchy, Christian Louboutin, Gucci and Chanel to greet her husband at the Palm Beach International Airport and for Saturday night’s Red Cross Ball at the Trumps’ Mar a Lago estate, a lipstick pink Christian Dior column. The gala event played out against the backdrop of an estimated 3,000 protestors, who turned up in Palm Beach to march against Donald Trump’s incendiary January 27 executive order for a travel ban aimed at seven Muslim-majority countries .
Melania Trump’s choice of all European brands for the weekend is interesting, given Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ mantra and notably, the growing #GrabYourWallet boycott campaign targeting over 60 predominantly US retailers and other businesses that are seen to deliberately align with the Trump family.
A number of the US-based designers who did dress the Trump women for the Inauguration – who included several immigrants, including NY-based Lebanese native Reem Acra – copped criticism on social media, with some initial noise about a Ralph Lauren boycott.
GrabYourWallet was claiming two scalps last week in US department stores Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, both of which have dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion and jewellery lines.
Nordstrom subsequently cited poor sales, not boycott pressure for dropping the fashion line, whilst Neiman Marcus claimed the fine jewellery line was on an extremely limited consignment-only and subject to continuous review.
At time of writing, Macy’s was reportedly close to bowing to pressure to pull the pin on Ivanka as well.
There is no shortage of wild speculation about the potential hidden codes of Melania Trump’s fashion choices.
Much was made of the Gucci pussybow blouse worn to the second Presidential debate in October, also in lipstick pink, as an alleged veiled reference to that month’s leaked Hollywood Access tape in which Donald Trump was overheard to advocate grabbing women “by the pussy”.
WWD references in passing the shade of the Dior gown and the pink “Pussyhats” that became the symbol of anti-Trump feminist resistance at the January 21st global Women’s Marches, which attracted an estimated three million protestors.
Vogue and the small handful of fashion commentators to have covered the weekend’s fashion angle to date – some others point blank refusing to ‘normalize’ the Trump administration by covering the First Lady’s fashion choices, even though many would argue it’s their job as journalists – have noted how unusual it was to see Melania in flat shoes for anything other than down-time.
Carla Bruni, the former First Lady of France, herself also a former model – who, unlike Melania Trump, towers over her husband – was frequently photographed wearing flat shoes for formal public appearances.
After the Inauguration, The Hollywood Reporter dedicated an entire story to Melania Trump’s preferred choice of footwear, the stiletto, claiming that she has ushered in a new glamazon era of footwear to Washington, after the sensible pumps and kitten heels of her no-fuss predecessors.
Was her choice of flats on Saturday perhaps a subtle middle finger to the snarks that she’s not just a Balkan Barbie who’s unprepared to roll up her sleeves and get down and dirty in the White House garden like her predecessor? Did she throw her back out on the Pilates Reformer? Who knows. Either way, she was back to five inch heel Louboutins that evening and for a Super Bowl party on Sunday.
It is not clear at this stage if the Dior ballgown was old or custom-made.
It looks very much like the minimalist handwriting of former creative director Raf Simons, as opposed to that of Dior’s newly-minted CD Maria Grazia Chiuri.
There are many references to the fire engine red Givenchy dress with cutaway sleeves on eCommerce sites such as Matchesfashion.com, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and the world’s leading online luxury retailer Net-A-Porter – where the dress is in fact now sold out. That dress could easily have been bought off the rack.
But there looks to be no sign of the Dior gown at current online retail (while it does bear a vague resemblance to a dress from Dior’s Resort 2016 collection).
In the event it was a custom job, it would be interesting, coming at the end of a week when fashion’s major players were criticized for their lack of commentary on the travel ban – with those who did voice critical opinions including Simons himself.