Melania Trump is known to let her fashion do the talking, and her latest ensemble has us wondering if she's got something to say.
The first lady and the president arrived at Clarence House on Tuesday evening for a spot of tea with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, before jetting off to a more formal reception. The foursome inadvertently clashed — with Melania in mustard yellow, Trump in a black suit, Charles in a navy suit, and Camila in a red dress.
But even in her colorful company, Melania's Valentino cape coat, from the fashion house's Fall 2019 collection, was the center of gravity. Especially when paired with her fuchsia sleeves, which she matched to her obligatory pointed-toe stiletto heels, the colorblocked ensemble was hard to look away from. And if we've learned anything from the new unauthorized biography of the FLOTUS, Free, Melania, by CNN's Kate Bennett, it's that her decision to go bold and bright may not have been a matter of simple sartorial preference on this December day, but a pointed message to her detractors.
To preface, earlier this week Melania debuted the White House Christmas decorations, and Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan wrote about the coat that the first lady wore in the unveiling video. "Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations are lovely, but that coat looks ridiculous," Givhan wrote of the eggshell coat she draped over her shoulders.
“The Spirit of America” is shining in the @WhiteHouse! I am delighted to share this beautiful exhibit of patriotism for all to see, and excited for everyone to experience the beauty of the #Christmas season! pic.twitter.com/qGxxl9qBrd— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 2, 2019
"But more than a silly fashion folly, the coat is a distraction," said Givhan. "In a video that is intended to celebrate the warmth and welcoming spirit of the holiday season, that simple flourish exudes cold, dismissive aloofness."
The Washington Post' hatred for one of the most elegant, beautiful and patriotic first ladies is a disgrace. https://t.co/EtP8y4St7Q— Jeanine Pirro (@JudgeJeanine) December 3, 2019
In her book, Bennett writes that Melania is very aware of her press (and we all know that her husband is aware of most Trump-related conservative press), which brings to the question to mind: Did Melania wear the can't-miss-it cape coat to send a message? That she'll wear a "ridiculous" coat if she pleases?
"I always say that there are no Melania Trump coincidences," Bennett told the Washingtonian.
Melania's blinding cape certainly isn't the most ostentatious piece in her closet (it's not even the most ostentatious coat — she's got plenty of those), but given that she's been dressing in monochromatic fashions as of late — from head-to-toe cream in the White House video and a subdued brown suede coat at the Turkey Pardon ceremony last week — the cape feels less than random.
"Having covered her for as long as I have, each thing she does has meaning to it, even the clothing she wears," Bennett wrote in the book, according to the New York Times.
We'll keep our eyes peeled for any sartorial messages on the impeachment proceedings next.