If there’s one way to promote your brand it’s by dressing the First Lady.
But several prominent fashion designers refuse to do so, with one saying she would not “associate herself in any way” with Melania Trump.
Anything Melania steps out in gets attention but a lot of it is admittedly out of reach for most people. One well-known designer said that was why he wouldn’t work with her, and not because of politics.
“I think that whoever is the President, or the First Lady, should be wearing clothes at a price point that are accessible to most Americans, and wearing clothes made in America,” Tom Ford said on the Golden Globes red carpet.
“My clothes are made in Italy, they’re very, very expensive. I don’t think most women or men in our country can relate to that, and I think the First Lady or the President should represent all people.”
Other designers refuse to dress Melania for political reasons.
Sophie Theallet dressed Michelle Obama but posted an open letter on Twitter that addressed Melania.
“As an independent fashion brand, we consider our voice an expression of our artistic and philosophical ideas,” she said.
“The Sophie Theallet brand stands against all discrimination and prejudice.
“Our runway shows, ad campaigns, and celebrity dressing have always been a celebration of diversity and a reflection of the world we live in … 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.”
Marc Jacobs said he had “no interest whatsoever” in dressing Melania.
“Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Trump and his supporters,” he said.
Philip Lim said he did not foresee a relationship developing under the Trump administration.
“As a global brand, we are always looking to partner with individuals that we have authentic relationships with – ultimately, women and men that share similar set of values, desires and ideologies: inclusion, diversity, justice, consciousness, innovation,” he told WWD.
Humberto Leon, of Opening Ceremony and Kenzo, lashed out on Facebook in a post about the designers who had said they wouldn’t dress her.
“No one should and if she buys your clothes, tell people you don’t support it. You know who you are!”
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But not everyone is taking a stand, with several others still happy to support Melania, particularly the brand she often wears, Dolce & Gabbana.
Despite their support, designers are still met with controversy.
When Stefano Gabbana posted a photo of Donald and Melania on New Year’s Eve to thank the First Lady for wearing one of their gowns, he caused controversy in the comments section but jumped in to defend himself.
“So disappointed” wrote one user, to which Gabbana responded simply: “I don’t care.”
Manolo Blahnik was forced to respond to criticism after Melania wore his “impractical” sky-high stilettos to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“I don’t think she’s insensitive,” he said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK.
“I think she’s working non-stop to make it work – possibly she was just wearing the shoes she left New York in. Yes, I think probably she could have worn Hunter boots but she was wearing what she was wearing.”
He said he “doesn’t give a damn about” politics, and that “in terms of fashion and beauty” he “loves” Melania, who was a long-time client.
“She’s a beauty and that’s all there is to it,” he said.