On Friday morning, the world watched as Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. By his side was his wife, Melania, the first lady, wearing a full, custom Ralph Lauren ensemble.
While onlookers and viewers were at a standstill, Ralph Lauren company stock soared in the minutes just before President Trump took the oath of office, about an hour after Melania made her first appearance:
The stock closed on Thursday at $88.20 a share, before reaching Friday’s high of $89.32 in the moments leading up to the inauguration. As the chart shows, intraday trading spiked around 11 a.m. Ralph Lauren stock closed at $88.90 Friday, a slight rebound in what has otherwise been a down month for the company’s stock. The Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 all ended up for the day as well.
Trying to attribute spikes in intraday trading to a single factor is a tricky business, so to say that Melania Trump is the sole reason for the increase comes with caveats. For instance, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton also wore Ralph Lauren on Inauguration Day, and was highly visible.
That said, there’s a strong business case for any designer to dress the first family.
Consider the exposure: When former first lady Michelle Obama wore Jason Wu to her first Inaugural Ball (and again, and again, and again), the young designer suddenly had a cachet previously reserved for major fashion houses.
And when Michelle Obama wore a $2,095 marigold Narcisso Rodriguez dress to her husband’s State of the Union address in 2016, the garment sold out soon after.
So, can designers afford to say no to the first family? Tom Ford seemed to think so, saying that he had previously declined to dress Melania Trump. All of this, of course, before the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas erased any trace of the designer’s products from its stores over the weekend.
It may be too soon to call it the Melania Effect, but designers’ financial mettle will certainly be tested if they decide to dress — or not to dress — any of the Trumps.
Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style and Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.