Update: According to WWD, fashion baron Karl Lagerfeld is “likely” to join Ralph Lauren in dressing Melania Trump for her husband’s inauguration this Friday. Like Lauren, Lagerfeld is a former Hillary Clinton supporter. Although the German designer was, for obvious reasons, ineligible to vote in the U.S. election, he nonetheless weighed in on the matter. “I think with the first black president, what they need now is the first woman president. That has to change, too,” the always opinionated, rarely politically correct Lagerfeld told The Associated Press back in March.
Whether this means Melania will be wearing Fendi, Chanel or Lagerfeld’s eponymous brand remains to be seen. Whether Lagerfeld will be responsible for Melania’s day or evening look is also a mystery. Although Lauren is known for his polished, preppy suiting, we could just as easily picture Melania donning a tweed two-piece for the swearing-in and an off-the-shoulder Lauren number later that evening. A Jackie O.-inspired Chanel suit would certainly get the fashion world talking — not that this apparent endorsement from Lagerfeld and Lauren, two major designer powerhouses, hasn’t already. Several wary designers have remained mum on the subject of dressing the incoming first lady (Christian Siriano among them), but with Lauren and Lagerfeld calling for separation of fashion and state, it’s hard to imagine their peers (underlings?) won’t fall in line.
January 17, 2017: Either Ralph Lauren has not been following the L.L. Bean backlash or he is one very brave man. WWD reports that the American designer is now working on a custom piece for Melania Trump’s Inauguration Day appearance (in T-3 days). Spokespeople for Lauren have neither confirmed nor denied the rumors.
Of course, unlike duck boot heiress Linda Bean, Ralph Lauren — at least up until November 8, 2016 — was a staunch Hillary Clinton supporter. He created the pantsuits worn by the former presidential candidate on several key occasions, including all three debates, her trip to the voting booth and her concession speech. Perhaps that’s why the public didn’t think much of it when Melania wore a one-shoulder Ralph Lauren jumpsuit (purchased at the brand’s Madison Avenue store) to her husband’s acceptance speech. Up until now, the FLOTUS-elect’s wardrobe has been largely off-the-rack.
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True, designing a custom piece for Melania is, on the most surface level, an act of bipartisanship (which Obama and Clinton have urged ever since Trump’s victory). On the other hand, popular sentiment seems to be that to participate in Trump’s inauguration (or administration) in any sense is to condone the 45th U.S. President’s political beliefs. Thus far, the list of inauguration performers reads like a flyer for a low-budget college concert and few celebrities — apart from Caitlyn Jenner — have deigned to RSVP, despite the potential for exposure.
The fashion world seems (somewhat) further removed from the matter. After all, as Cynthia Rowley told WWD, “She can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it?” That said, several designers have seized the chance to make a political statement, speaking out either for or against dressing Melania. If Ralph Lauren is, in fact, outfitting the soon-to-be first lady, we’ll be interested to see whether he gains Isabel Toledo-like acclaim or joins L.L. Bean and New Balance in the proverbial pillory.
[ via WWD ]