Call it the “Kate Middleton effect.” When you’re one of the most watched women in the world — and your fashion game is on point — it should come as no surprise that you’ll soon become a trendsetter.
Although many of the first lady’s looks are seriously covet worthy, one dress in particular is emerging as a favorite among the Washington, D.C., and Hollywood elite. In July, Melania Trump made her public debut at the Republican National Convention in a now-iconic bubble-sleeved dress. The wife of the then-Republican nominee looked both angelic and regal in the stark, white frock, which was created by U.K.-based designer Roksanda Ilinčić, a native of Serbia (Melania Trump hails from nearby Slovenia).
The world took notice, and variations on the $2,195 dress seem to be popping up everywhere. Most recently, at Monday’s star-studded Met Gala in New York City, actress Zoey Deutch glowed in a white gown that bore a striking resemblance to Melania Trump’s convention dress. Deutch told W magazine that she chose the custom Tory Burch design in an attempt to stick to this year’s gala theme: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.”
With its high neck and accentuated bell sleeves, the look carried all of the tasteful charm of Trump’s. Like the first lady, Deutch even opted for minimal accessories, wearing only a pair of oversize Tory Burch earrings and letting the gown speak for itself.
Unlike Trump’s frock, which was strictly a cotton-silk blend, Deutch’s was floor length and featured flourishes of tulle. Deutch called the dress a “minimalist, white silhouette” and praised Burch in the interview, but made no mention of the gown’s striking resemblance to Trump’s dress.
Shortly after the convention, the first variation on Trump’s ethereal dress popped up at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where it stirred up controversy. The scandal started shortly after Melania Trump was accused of plagiarizing her convention speech from then-first lady Michelle Obama — all while wearing the white number. When Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, gave a speech at the Democratic convention in a white dress that was identical to Trump’s, it sent social media into a tizzy. Some felt Beatty was trolling Trump with her fashion statement — “plagiarizing the plagiarizer,” as one person put it.
Then, in January, Natalie Portman wore a floor-length copycat of Trump’s look, bubble sleeves and all, to the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The gown, a piece from Italian fashion designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Spring 2017 Dior couture collection, had come straight off the runway and fit the pregnant star perfectly.
Portman had been nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for Jackie, a Jacqueline Kennedy biopic. She made sure to credit the former first lady for inspiring her wardrobe choice — “I’m sure that even subconsciously I’m inspired by Jackie, who had such an incredible style,” she told People/Entertainment Weekly Network at the time — but didn’t extend that courtesy to the current first lady.
It’s hard to ignore the uncanny resemblance, though — and it’s important to note that Melania Trump, too, has drawn comparisons to Kennedy with her aesthetic.
Shortly after the Republican convention, Trump’s original Roksanda dress sold out on Net-a-Porter.com, where the former model purchased it herself “because she liked it,” according to her spokesperson. It has since been restocked. Called the “Margot” dress, the piece is marketed onsite as “a beautiful option for the modern bride.” In addition to white, the look is available in black and pink. In 2012, both Kelly Ripa and Ginnifer Goodwin rocked the bright pink version to separate events.
The dress is clearly a crowd pleaser, as droves of social media users would agree — even if they don’t necessarily agree with the Trumps’ politics. “I oppose everything Melania Trump stands for but I will not hear a syllable against that dress,” Tara Ariano tweeted. Another tweeted, “Politics aside, I love that dress.”
I oppose everything Melania Trump stands for but I will not hear a SYLLABLE against that dress. #RNCinCle
— Tara Ariano (@TaraAriano) July 19, 2016
Want to get on the Roksanda puff-sleeved dress bandwagon, but can’t afford the price tag? Several designers offer less expensive commercial knockoffs — but good luck finding a retailer that has inventory. Jovani makes a chic version of the dress in both white and black, which retails for $550 on Saks Fifth Avenue’s site. Neiman Marcus sells the dress for $560 in navy. Bloomingdale’s sells a version of the dress, in white, by Laundry by Shelli Segal for $236 — when it is in stock, which it is not — along with online retailers Dillard’s and Spring.
Still coming up short? You can always wait for Melania Trump’s next big look — and stay ahead of the copycat curve.
Read more on Yahoo Style + Beauty:
- Met Gala 2017: According to Selena Gomez, Maxi Dresses Are Here to Stay
- Ashley Graham’s H&M Dress Made Her Feel ‘Confident and Sexy’ at the Met Gala
- Donald Trump Proposed to Melania Knauss at the Met Gala, 13 Years Ago