By Sam Reed
Jul 12, 2018 @ 3:45 pm

Perhaps the cape is to shield herself from her husband's haters? 

Arm-in-arm with hubby Donald, himself in a three-piece tuxedo, Melania Trump made her way to Marine One in a sweeping pale yellow chiffon gown that draped off her shoulders, calling to mind Princess Belle's infamous ballgown—the one worn both by the animated feminist hero as well as her live-action counterpart played by Emma Watson. The First Lady and President (or should we say, Melania and the Beast?) were photographed en route from London to Blenheim Palace for a black-tie dinner. 

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

Her elegant dress is designed by Gilles Mendel for J. Mendel, a French, rather than English, designer who now resides in New York. (A bit of J. Mendel history: The brand was founded in St. Petersburg in 1870 by a former furrier to the Russian aristocracy, Joseph Breitman, but it later moved its headquarters to Paris following the Russian Revolution. We'll let you draw your own connections.)

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

As we've pointed out before, past first ladies have worn gowns by designers who hail from whichever country they're visiting as a sign of diplomatic good will. It's not required, to be sure, but given the hostile displays of animosity towards her husband, Melania probably wasn't feeling too much goodwill towards her host country anyway. 

With thousands protesting on the streets in London, and a "Trump Baby" balloon set to fly over the city this weekend, the Brits are making it known that they have no desire to be friendly with the Trumps. It's been an emotional roller coaster for our pals across the pond recently—what with the devastating World Cup semi-finals loss to Croatia, not to mention the erm, Brexit (sorry), of two top officials in Theresa May's cabinet.

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Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
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Like her logo-covered Louboutin pumps, Melania's dramatic gown is lavish, luxe—the epitome of the Trumpian aesthetic. Trump's British critics will likely interpret her look as a Marie Antoinette-inspired, chauvinistic display of excess. Her supporters will likely see it as a symbol of her inherent European elegance. 

Despite its soft pastel hue, this is certainly one of Melania's more dramatic looks—up there with her pristine white Michael Kors skirt suit, her black Givenchy caped dress and, we would be remiss to omit, her Zara jacket (I don't really care for it, "do u?").

She and Trump have yet to come face-to-face with their haters, but maybe her dress can shield her from the blinding glare of some of these, um, orange signs?