By Erika Harwood. Photos: Getty Images.
Could it be that Melania Trump is coming around to fashion diplomacy? After a week that started with the First Lady veering off message by wearing an Italian designer for her official White House portrait, Trump may be signaling that she (or her advisers) are coming around to realizing the importance of her fashion choices.
On Wednesday the First Lady visited Excel Academy, D.C.’s only public all-girls charter school, with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Queen Rania of Jordan, whose husband, King Abdullah II of Jordan, was meeting with President Trump at the White House.
The First Lady, the queen, and the education secretary were met with bouquets of flowers from the students. Trump did not make any public statements.
Trump wore a custom dress reportedly designed by Hervé Pierre, the designer behind her white inaugural ball gown. Wednesday’s emerald-green look included a skinny black belt cinching her waist. Beyond aesthetic concerns, the color of Trump’s outfit could have been a deliberate reference to green’s symbolic associations in the Muslim world.
Green, along with black, white, and red, is featured in the Jordanian flag. The color is said to be the favorite color of Mohammed, and, in the Ottoman Empire, only descendants of the prophet were permitted to wear green on their turbans. The Quran mentions the color in association with paradise, and it’s commonly featured in Islamic architecture (including the dome above the prophet’s tomb in Saudi Arabia).
In short, her decision to wear green for a photo opportunity could be a sign that she (and her team) are beginning to grasp fashion’s outsize role in her carrying out her official First Lady responsibilities. Or it could be a coincidence—Trump’s future appearances will reveal whether the symbolism is part of a pattern, or a one-off occurrence.
This story originally appeared on Vanity Fair.
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