In a surprising and bold move, Melania Trump silenced her sartorial critics and the fashion world with her elegant ruffled cream gown accented with a red silk ribbon to the Inaugural Ball. The office of First Lady released a statement confirming that her gown for tonight’s inaugural balls was “designed by Hervé Pierre and Melania Trump.”
After weeks of speculation as to what designer would be honored (or burdened) with dressing the new First Lady for the Inauguration Day events and the engagements that will follow in the days to come, Melania Trump silenced her detractors in the fashion world with a bold choice – Melania collaborated on the design of her own gown, working with esteemed couturier Hervé Pierre who formerly worked for Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera.
“It’s an honor to dress the First Lady,” Pierre said in a statement. “I was actually lucky because over my 20 years in the U.S., I dressed all the first ladies: Mrs. Clinton at Oscar (de la Renta), Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama at Carolina Herrera. So I feel lucky and honored to dress Melania Trump, but this time under my name.”
The gown, in six-ply vanilla crepe, is cut off the shoulder with a full-length gazar arc opening into a deep side slit. A red silk faille ribbon fastens the waist. It is safe to say this gown will remain an iconic piece of American history, likely finding its way into the Smithsonian or other fashion and textile museum.
Pierre recounted that the process of collaborating with Trump was ‘organic’ and that she has a very structured taste in garments. He noted that she feels very strongly about her personal style and “doesn’t plan to change it because of her new function. So it was fun to respect her very tailored sense of fashion and to translate it in a gown. The lines are sharp, the design has no fuss and reflects Mrs. Trump’s vision of fashion and the way she feels in a gown.”
“It was an amazing experience!” Pierre gushed about designing the gown with Melania, noting that Trump’s contributions were technical as well as aesthetic. “She knows what she likes. Our conversations were, and are, very easy. She knows about fashion, as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already the same vocabulary when it comes to designing a dress.”
Controversy erupted in recent days over the seemingly innocent act of dressing the First Lady. Due to her husband’s politics, many American designers snubbed Melania and the Trump family. Haute couture fashion designers large and small released statements to the press regarding their lack of enthusiasm or outright disdain for working with the new President, Melania, and even the beloved Ivanka Trump, who owns her own fashion company.
Rather than be dismayed by her critics and the apparent turn of the fashion industry against her, an industry Melania was a part of as a model who even graced the cover of Vogue, the First Lady fought back with style. Enlisting the aid of one of the world’s most respected designers, Melania collaborated and created a stunning gown remarked upon the world over, one that will live on through the ages in sartorial history.
Without a glance at her detractors, without a word, the First Lady proved she has what it takes to be every bit as Presidential as her predecessors and serve her role with dignity and grace. A role, one might say, that she has assumed already with aplomb.