For her father’s New Year’s Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Tiffany Trump, noted “rich kid of Instagram” and one of two soon-to-be first daughters, decided on a black-and-white color-blocked strapless gown from John Paul Ataker, which she tagged in her Instagram pic of herself rocking the look. “Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2017,” she captioned the shot.
Since President-elect Donald Trump won the election in November, fashion designers have been debating whether they should engage on a sartorial level with the Trumps. Soon after Trump’s win, Sophie Theallet released a statement saying she would not be dressing future first lady Melania Trump, citing her husband’s problematic campaign. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by,” she wrote. Tom Ford also said that he would not be providing Mrs. Trump with his threads, as “she’s not necessarily my image. I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago. I declined.” Ford also mentioned that he would not dress Hillary Clinton either had she won.
Still, designers such as Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Jean-Paul Gaultier, and Tommy Hilfiger have said they have no problem dressing Melania Trump. Stefano Gabbana recently thanked the future FLOTUS for wearing one of his label’s dresses to her husband’s New Year’s Eve party. He Instagrammed a photo of her in the piece, a black cocktail dress with bows at the straps, festooned with a bit of bling. And just as polarizing as Donald Trump’s rhetoric has been through this election season and promises to be once he is sworn in, so were the comments. “It’s sad that you support what the Trump family stands for… huge disappointment,” one person wrote. “He’s a designer. His thoughts on politics have nothing to do with their pieces. Get over it Snowflakes,” wrote another.
You can add John Paul Ataker to the list of houses that have no problem dressing the Trumps. The label, led by creative director Numan Ataker, has had a relationship with Tiffany Trump for some time, according to Kerime Ataker, co-founder and president of the brand and sister of the designer. “We’ve known Tiffany Trump way before this election, and we’ve dressed her before as well, last year. … One of the suits she wore, the red suit, she wore on NBC, there was an interview with the whole entire family, and she was wearing a red pencil skirt and a jacket in red. She comes to our showroom often, and she is in love with our collection. She loves the styles. She loves how it feels.”
Production for the Ataker brand, which is based in the U.S. and has a corporate showroom in New York City, is done in Istanbul, but the company plans to move 50 percent of its production stateside over the next five years.
Ataker says Tiffany Trump visited the showroom recently in search of a dress and landed on this look from the label’s spring 2017 collection. “She was here about three weeks ago, and she said she would love to see if we could make her a couple dresses,” Ataker tells Yahoo Style. “She put on the sample and she said she loved it and would love to wear it for New Year’s Eve. We got her measurements, and our production team went ahead and custom-made that dress for her. It wasn’t a surprise or anything like that; she picked the dress.”
Ataker says that the ideal woman for their clothing is “confident, independent, a businesswoman, and [she takes pride in] not depending on anyone but herself.” For them, Tiffany Trump fits the bill, and that’s the bottom line. Ataker sees no reason to bring political opinions into fashion, saying the two are separate entities. “We are in fashion. Fashion equals art for us. We will dress women who are independent, who are businesswomen, who have confidence. Tiffany, she is a girl who is so humble. If you meet her, you will know what I mean. She’s such a unique girl. She is so friendly, so down-to-earth. For us, we never get involved with politics, and we will never do that.”
While Ataker understands and respects the rights of other designers to express their political opinions, she says, “We don’t understand why they would make comments about political views while they’re in fashion. That’s not their business. I’m not a politician. I’m not going to [talk about] any political view. We don’t see anything wrong with dressing Tiffany or Melania Trump, and we would be honored to dress her.”
And as for anyone who objects to Tiffany Trump wearing their clothes? “We love Tiffany Trump as a person,” Ataker said. “If someone is going to get upset with us just because we’re dressing her, they will be upset anyway. They’re trying to find an excuse to get upset with us.”
The Ataker brand has outfitted the likes of Olivia Culpo, Kelly Osbourne, and Constance Zimmer, and may even make an appearance on the red carpet at the Golden Globes on Sunday.