Meet the Designers Who Are Happy to Dress Melania Trump as First Lady - and the Ones Who Won't
Fashion designer Tom Ford has announced that he would not be dressing future first lady Melania Trump when her husband officially becomes president.
While promoting his new film, Nocturnal Animals on The View Wednesday, the designer and filmmaker recalled a time when he was asked to create clothing for the former model.
“I was asked to dress [Melania Trump] quite a few years ago and I declined," Ford said. "She is not necessarily my image."
He added: “The first lady — other than the fact that I’m a Democrat and voted for Hillary and am very sad and disappointed that she’s not in office — even had Hillary won, she shouldn’t be wearing my clothes.
"They’re too expensive. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. They’re not artificially expensive. It’s how much it costs to make these things. But I think to relate to everybody, you shouldn’t necessarily [wear such expensive clothes].”
Other designers have joined Ford in refusing to dress the former Slovakian model.
Marc Jacobs told Women’s Wear Daily: “I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump… Personally, I'd rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by [Donald] Trump and his supporters."
French-born American designer Sophie Theallat, who regularly dressed first lady Michelle Obama, wrote a lengthy open letter she posted to Twitter, in which she denounced the Trumps.
Open letter | Sophie Theallet | November 17th, 2016 pic.twitter.com/g1hIAyBmdF— sophie theallet (@sophietheallet) November 17, 2016
She wrote: “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles. I will not participate in dressing or associate myself in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband's presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by."
Theallat added: "Integrity is our only true currency."
Derek Lam told WWD: “While I have incredible respect for our country's political institutions, I find it challenging to be personally involved in dressing the new first lady. I would rather concentrate my energies on efforts towards a more just, honorable and a mutually respectful world. I don't know Melania Trump personally, so I don't wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don't see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency."
Phillip Lim echoed those sentiments to WWD saying: “We do not have a current relationship with Mrs. Trump and I don’t foresee a relationship developing under the Trump administration."
Despite that disdain toward Trump’s third wife, she has support from other top names in fashion.
Tommy Hilfiger told WWD: “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her. Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don't think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You're not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania."
Diane von Furstenberg agreed, telling WWD: "Melania deserves the respect of any first lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity. We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example."
Thom Browne added: “Out of respect for the position of the first lady of our United States, I would be honored to be considered to design for any first lady of the United States."
After the election, Carolina Herrera told Business of Fashion she will be reaching out to Mrs. Trump within “two or three months” and believes “everyone” will be dressing the president-elect’s wife because “she’s representing the United States.”
Marcus Wainwright of American clothing company Rag & Bone told The New York Times: “It would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump. If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs."
Vera Wang, who has remained neutral about dressing Mrs. Trump, told WWD that “the first lady-elect should support American fashion, as did her predecessors."