Have you been keeping up with Melania Trump’s outfit changes this week? To be honest, it’s been more exhausting than fashion week. In case you’re not in the loop, she’s accompanying her husband on a tour of Asia which has proved the perfect opportunity to showcase some ultra-fabulous new purchases.
There have been two nipped-waist Dior day dresses, one in navy, one in bright white. There was a Grecian-style red Valentino gown for a state banquet in Tokyo (which somehow managed to be upstaged by Hope Hicks in a Ralph Lauren tuxedo). Also in Japan, there was a colour-blocked, floral applique coat by Fendi and a military coat by Alexander McQueen for her arrival in South Korea. And that’s just a sampling.
The first lady has undoubtedly projected an image of glamour- this is Melania Trump we’re talking about- but there has also been something missing. We’ve become accustomed to first ladies who are not only super stylish but add meaning to their outfits by strategically choosing the designers they work with. Usually that means a clever mix of home-grown names who they can promote abroad or paying a diplomatic nod by wearing something by a designer from the country they’re visiting; think of Michelle Obama wearing Christopher Kane in the UK or wearing US design duo Proenza Schouler in Morocco.
The closest that Melania Trump has come to any such deft acknowledgement was last night when she wore a fur-trimmed cheongsam by Gucci for a state dinner in Beijing. It was an interesting choice because picture-wise it’s the ultimate homage to Chinese style. Of course, many in China will appreciate an extravagant Gucci fashion statement but its lack of actual Chinese authenticity seems a shame. It’s like the time that the great and good of the fashion world went to the China-themed Met Gala in Western interpretations before Rihanna arrived in an opulently embroidered mustard robe by Beijing-based couturier Guo Pei.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter (how many people actually take any notice of the names of the designers, anyway?) and it’s not like Melania Trump, or any first lady, even has an actual job description, let alone any obligation to wear certain labels.
Melania is accustomed to her beloved European high-fashion labels; Dior made her wedding gown and every time she wears Dolce and Gabbana, Stefano Gabbana posts delighted images on his Instagram. There’s definitely no Jackie Kennedy-esque worries (she enlisted Oleg Cassini to create America-made version of Chanel and Givenchy designs so that she didn’t have to sacrifice style for patriotism) about the semantics of wearing lots of foreign designers to be seen here.
Melania Trump: Best looks
Like her husband’s bold approach to diplomacy- earlier this week he chose to blame the unequal trade relationship between the US and China on the previous Democrat government rather than China- Melania Trump is doing first lady style to the beat of her own drum.