There’s frequent talk about Melania Trump; the little she does – but mostly does not – say and her fashion choices which have been the topic of much debate. But never from her side – her team have stayed quiet, due in part, to the outcry that occurs when any designer speaks out and says they’ll agree to even dress the First Lady – as if that was an indication of an alliance a President condemned by so many. Should we feel sorry for Melania? Married to a man who women around the world perceive as a threat to their freedom, forced to stand up and proclaim him a “good man” after frightening apparent evidence would suggest otherwise, many do feel sorry for her – she’s guilty by association. We judge and look on with utter disdain largely based on the actions of the men in her life.
But the fact that she’s championed by the same woman who called Michelle Obama “an ape in heels” does not mean she holds these views. She isn’t her husband, even if she toes the line only if and when it’s required of her. Nor is her silent much discussed Jackie O-type attire – or any of her sartorial choices since – a real indication of anything other than outside appearances. And we’re spectacular at judging women based on these appearances. What’s sadly ironic is that the liberal media who continually blamed Hillary Clinton for her husband’s discretion in the 90s have turned with similar venom on the next First Lady.
But some in the industry have decided not to take this stance. They don’t condemn, judge – or agree with the actions of her husband – by dressing Melania. They simply want to continue to do their jobs without pitchforks following them around for doing so.
On Thursday, Hervé Pierre, the former creative director of Carolina Herrera, who designed the First Lady’s inaugural gown and occasionaly styles her told The New York Times that he decided to keep politics out of it. “The beauty of this country is it’s a democracy, so some people want to dress certain people and some people don’t want to,” he said. “I choose to. If you forget about the political, or whatever, that’s behind it, the needs are so interesting to answer. Even if I’m not creating the clothes, it is very creative to consider how it’s going to be perceived. And when you decide, you divide. I’m not always right. I make mistakes, and same for her. There’s no ‘How to Be the Perfect First Lady’ book. You learn on the spot.”
He added that styling the US First Lady is “not really my forte”, but said that he did do private shopping for her at Michael Kors, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Dior.
“When you work with a woman, it’s not about the clothes. It’s about the way a person is living: the way she eats, the way she organises, her flowers,” Pierre said. “I ask a question every time I put an idea on paper: Where is this woman going?”
And the fact remains that she is a woman, husband to a billionaire, the President of the United States and we shouldn’t feel too sorry for her – but we should at least regard her as a person beneath the clothes we are so quick to sneer at her for wearing.