Why Melania Trump's Sartorial Tribute to Britain Is Surprising
She's taken more of a Michelle Obama approach to her recent trip abroad.
Melania and Donald Trump arrived in England for their first official state visit on Monday, and things are already off to an indisputably rocky start.
Just days ahead of the trip, the President called Meghan Markle (a key member of the royal family) “nasty,” and during his visit with the queen he appeared to forget the gift he brought her last time he visited. And that’s not to mention the lewd comments he’s made about both Kate Middleton and the late Princess Diana.
Expecting Trump to make a gaffe-free impression abroad is like waiting for your cat to master long division, but he’s not alone in representing the U.S. this week. At his side is First Lady Melania, who’s working harder than usual to fit the sartorial mold left by world leaders’ wives who’ve come before.
Melania departed D.C. on Sunday in a silk Gucci dress bearing a city monument print that included bright illustrations of the London Bridge.
FLOTUS upped the ante when she landed, disembarking from Air Force One in a navy Michael Kors pencil skirt, matching blazer, and patterned pussy-bow top from one of Britain’s premiere fashion houses, Burberry.
When Melania and Donald arrived at Buckingham Palace on Monday afternoon, the former model donned a white and navy ensemble that, though from one of fashion's most controversial designers, appeared to be a direct allusion to one worn by Princess Di in 1995.
Whether or not she planned to channel the late royal is unclear, but the connection was drawn by plenty of media outlets.
Later that evening, Melania arrived at a state banquet in another white gown — this one bearing a spiky illusion neckline and another non-British designer: Dior. However, she did follow royal etiquette and accessorize with a pair of elbow-length white gloves.
Every one of Melania’s U.K. looks thus far has adhered to this formula — the pairing of something distinctly British with something distinctly … not.
Aware of the overwhelming attention her sartorial choices were paid in the media, former First Lady Michelle Obama made sure that her every look contributed to her narrative of choice. She’d boost talented unknown designers while at home and pay homage to international brands while abroad.
In the nearly two years since Trump took office, Melania’s fashion narrative has existed in near opposition to Michelle’s. She’s rarely represented regional designers while abroad — in fact, she’s taken sartorial mimicry to a disrespectful level, offending locals while wearing a Pith helmet (a symbol of African exploitation) in Nairobi. And we can’t forget the egregiously tone-deaf “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” jacket she wore on her way to visit immigrant children at a detention center in Texas last June.
Considering how Melania’s attempts to pay tribute to the U.K. compare to her previous fashion blunders, we hope that means she's learning from past sartorial blunders.