It looks like not everyone agrees with famous fashion designer Sophie Theallet and her thoughts on the future First Lady. Last night, Tommy Hilfiger was asked by Women’s Wear Daily if he would be joining Theallet in her cause to refuse to dress First Lady-elect Melania Trump. Hilfiger, though, is not on board.
“I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her,” Hilfiger told WWD. “Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”
Hilfiger’s statement is a far cry from the open letter Theallet tweeted last week, in which she urged designers to “not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady.” Theallet that she was “honored” to dress First Lady Michelle Obama, but “the rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia by unleashed by [Melania Trump’s] husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values” she lives by.
More on 2016’s much-discussed political style moments:
- Lady Gaga Wore a Pantsuit to the American Music Awards
- Hillary Clinton Voters Plan to Wear Pantsuits on Election Day
- Channel Your Inner Boss Babe With Hillary Clinton’s Lipstick
With the heated controversy that was the 2016 presidential election, there’s no question that fashion’s current relationship with the White House is bound to change. The sheer fact that major names in the industry like Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, and Prabal Gurung all created merchandise for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run (think of how far #PantsuitNation has come) stands out. Likewise, all the aforementioned have dressed First Lady Michelle Obama, too. (And you could argue that not just the industry, but everyone got into fashion with this election. There was an organic movement for those who were voting for Clinton to wear white on Election Day—Lady Gaga included.)
In contrast, as The New York Times points out, Melania Trump often wears clothing she buys off the rack (like this Roksanda dress from Net-a-Porter) instead of working directly with a designer, the way candidates in the past—including Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who partnered with Ralph Lauren for several looks this campaign, have. Joseph Altuzarra, for example, who has also dressed the current First Lady, told The New York Times that designers are assuming that this presidency “will have a different relationship to clothes.”
You could argue, though, that for some designers, dressing Trump could be seen as a solid career opportunity—and offer serious visibility to under-the-radar talent who may not have a red carpet to show his or her design off on. But then again, is it a platform a fashion designer would want to stand on—or one they’d want to stand by?
Take Marcus Wainwright, chief executive of (one of our favorite fashion lines) Rag & Bone, for example. In the same story that Altuzarra was quoted in, he told The New York Times that “it would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump. If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs.”
So it seems like the jury’s still out on dressing the future First Lady, but one thing’s for sure: The relationship between fashion and politics may be forever changed.
Now, check out Hillary Clinton’s 17 most iconic beauty moments: