Michelle Obama used her platform to shine a light on rising fashion talent with diverse backgrounds — Brandon Maxwell, Christian Siriano and Jason Wu all benefitted from Obama’s endorsements; Mamie Eisenhower had a shade of pink named after her due to her penchant for the pastel and Jackie O made the pillbox hat her signature.
Perhaps no FLOTUS has had their sartorial choices dissected more than Melania Trump – and what a lot there’s been to discuss.
Melania’s controversial fashion reign began when, after Donald Trump’s election victory, a slew of high-end designers refused to dress her. Marc Jacobs told WWD “I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump…” a view similarly shared by Tom Ford, who also said “I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago and I declined. She’s not necessarily my image…”
But, a dedicated fashion fan since her ascent to the public eye in the nineties, not even a high-profile bashing could deter Melania from indulging in the theatrics of presidential dress-up.
From the “inappropriate” Christian Louboutin stilettos she wore to board a flight to Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey to the widely-criticised ‘I don’t really care do u?’ Zara jacket she wore to visit migrant children who had been separated from their parents in Texas and the colonial-style hat she chose for a Kenyan safari, criticism for her ill-thought-out outfit choices has come thick and fast.
In response to the controversial slogan jacket, the FLOTUS hit back at criticism in a rare interview, saying: “It was for the people and for the leftwing media who are criticising me and I want to show them that I don’t care It was kind of a message, yes. I would prefer that they would focus on what I do and on my initiatives than what I wear.”
Stylist Hervé Pierre (the former creative director of Carolina Herrera) is the man behind the headlines. Last year, in reference to the black Burberry military-inspired dress she wore to the State of Union address, Pierre told WWD that Melania’s fashion choices actually are not intended to communicate wider messages.
“As long as I find the right outfit, the designer is almost irrelevant. The designer, well, is Burberry, but it could have been anybody else. It has nothing to do with England or Brexit,” he said, “if I would have to think of all these things when I look at dresses and outfits, I would lose my mind… On my side, believe me, I don’t think of it. Because I don’t have time to do that.”
Flick through the gallery above for the fashion-forward First Lady’s stand-out moments.