Top American designers on dressing Melania Trump


Photo by Douglas Friedman for Harper’s Bazaar

What the First Lady of the United States wears inevitably sets trends and makes a statement. Being a designer for her is a huge honour that most people will jump at…until now. After Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the fashion world is divided on the issue of dressing incoming First Lady Melania Trump. Some designers are decidedly vocal, while others remain diplomatically silent on the matter. Here are some of the top American designers’ stands on whether or not they will accept if asked to dress Mrs. Trump:

Yes…out of respect

Diane von Furstenberg

Though she was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, the designer admits to WWD that “Donald Trump was elected and he will be our president. Melania deserves the respect of any first lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity. We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example.”

Marcus Wainwright

“It would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump,” the chief executive of Rag & Bone said to the New York Times. “If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs.”

Thom Browne

“Out of respect for the position of the first lady of our United States,” he told WWD. “I would be honored to be considered to design for any first lady of the United States.”

Joseph Altuzarra

The New York-based designer said to the New York Times, “I don’t want to not dress people I disagree with.”

Why not?

John Paul Ataker

The brand, a favourite of Tiffany Trump’s, thinks that politics and fashion are separate issues. Kerime Ataker, co-founder and president of the brand and sister of designer Numan Ataker, told Yahoo! Style, “We don’t see anything wrong with dressing Tiffany or Melania Trump, and we would be honored to dress her.”

Tommy Hilfiger

Hilfiger is one of the few who is enthusiastic about the prospect. “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her,” he said to WWD. “Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart […] I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”

Calvin Klein

Though a huge donor to the Democratic party, the 74-year-old designer scoffed when a TMZ reporter asked him the question, saying “Of course I would.”

Skeptics

Sophie Theallet

In her now-famous open letter dated 17 November, 2016, the designer wrote: “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by. I encourage my fellow designers to do the same.”

Tom Ford

“I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago and I declined,” he told ABC’s The View. “She’s not necessarily my image.”

 

Zac Posen

The designer, who has dressed both Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump in the past, said in an interview with The Daily Beast that he has “no current plans to dress members of the first family.”

Marc Jacobs

“I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump,” he said in WWD. “I didn’t see [Sophie Theallet’s] letter. Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by [Donald] Trump and his supporters.”

Cynthia Rowley

Of course, the soon-to-be FLOTUS is no stranger to shopping off the rack: the Ralph Lauren jumpsuit she wore on election night costs about $4000. This was noted by Rowley, who stated in WWD that “She can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it? Just because she’s shown wearing a designer does not mean that designer is endorsing her, her husband or any of their beliefs.”

Derek Lam

The San Francisco-born designer would rather pursue other projects. In his statement to WWD, he said, “While I have incredible respect for our country’s political institutions, I find it challenging to be personally involved in dressing the new first lady. I would rather concentrate my energies on efforts towards a more just, honorable and a mutually respectful world. I don’t know Melania Trump personally, so I don’t wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don’t see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency.”

Predictions

Tanya Taylor

“I think that I want to give it some time,” she told Elle. “I feel like they’re not in office yet, maybe […] she will do something that is really meaningful and then you can reevaluate it. I think right now it’s a little bit too soon to call.”

Carolina Herrerra

The designer thinks that the fashion world will warm up to the future First Lady. “I think that in two or three months they’ll reach out, because it’s fashion,” she told Business of Fashion. “You’ll see everyone dressing Melania. She’s representing the United States.”

Conclusion

Given that Mrs. Trump has already garnered much attention with her outfits along the campaign trail (the Gucci pussy-bow shirt that she wore at the second presidential debate is almost sold out), it is quite likely that designers will reevaluate their involvement as the reality of the Trump administration sets in.

“She would be the most stylish First Lady we’ve ever had, beyond a shadow of a doubt — beyond Jackie Kennedy, beyond Michelle Obama,” says celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch. “You see her across the room, and you want to know who that woman is.”

If you were a designer, would you agree to dress Melania Trump? Let me know in the comments below.

XOXO HONG PHUC

This post was last updated on 12/03/2017.

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