At the end of a campaign that was largely fought on promises to ban immigrants to the United States, America’s future First Lady Melania Trump is now poised to be the first foreign-born first lady in two centuries. But love her or hate her, America and the world will be seeing a lot more of the Slovenian model over the next four years, of that we’re sure.
What Melania brings to the presidency of her husband Donald Trump is glamour, much more than any of her predecessors since probably Jackie Kennedy. In fact, in a Washington Post interview last year, Trump’s former political adviser Roger Stone had said, “(She) provides great balance” to Trump and that she is smart, “not just an armpiece… She would be the most glamorous first lady since Jackie Kennedy”.
Now, this is important since as FLOTUS, not only will Melania be expected to play a pivotal role in the country’s welfare affairs, but also set style trends for the American youth too. Yes, that’s the unwritten part of the job; and so far, the 46-year-old has arguably exhibited a lot more poise and grace during the presidential campaign than her husband, who is 24 years her senior.
On early Wednesday morning, as Donald Trump took the mic to give his victory address, Melania – who has often proved to the world that she’s got his back no matter what – stood looking elegant and beautiful in a Ralph Lauren one-shoulder jumpsuit. The silk crepe piece apparently retails for $3,990 and is definitely a head-turner. This couldn’t have been more different than Michelle Obama’s choice of a red-and-black sheath dress by Narciso Rodriguez eight years ago, when Obama became president-elect. To be fair, Michelle – at the time – was not particularly known for her style quotient, and only grew to make style statements over the eight years in the White House. (Remember the custom rose gold Atelier Versace chainmail gown she wore to her final White House State Dinner?)
In fact, one of the famous and reported reactions to Michelle’s dress the night Barack Obama gave his victory speech in 2008 was by Jessica Bettencourt, a homemaker and mother of three from Wisconsin. “I voted for Obama, but I didn’t vote for that dress,” she said.
The two first ladies could not have been more different from each other, even if they tried. But then, the same can be said of their husbands too.
On November 8, the decoding of America’s future first lady had already started at the polling booth. To enter her ballot, Melania wore a sleeveless ecru Michael Kors dress which she paired with a camel gold-buttoned Balmain coat over her shoulders. It appears to be a $3,669 virgin wool coat that Olivier Rousteing designed for his fall collection. Twitteratis found it ironical that she chose to wear white to cast her vote. Many were quick to point out that American suffragists wore white during their protests to win for women the right to vote. This was meant draw a comparison with her husband’s opponent Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who many had thought would go on to become US’ first female president.
This was just the beginning. Let alone the US, in India film-maker Ram Gopal Varma’s sexist tweet that objectified Melania and Michelle both drew a lot of flak on the social media. Americans will be harsher, after all, she’s said to be the least favourite first lady in history.
Looking back at Melania’s modelling past, there are many instances that one wouldn’t quite associate with the position of a First Lady. Her nude shoot for Brtish GQ tops the list. But at 5’9″, Melania definitely knows her way around high-end couture, and understandably so. Photos of Melania at high-society gatherings and red carpet events, shows her in expensive furs, plunging necklines, high slit gowns. But the last 12 months have revealed a very different side, one that shows her preparing for her role at the White House. Risqué dresses were ditched for classic cuts, jackets and skirts with an ‘acceptable length’!
It’s befitting because when she was asked by The New York Times in 1999 what her role would be if her husband became president, she said she would be “very traditional, like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy”. And she’s been true to her word. The fuchsia pink pussy-bow Gucci blouse and cigarette pants she wore for the second presidential debate has been said to be one of her most conservative. It hit the right note after Donald’s controversial tape scandal, while many also read as her way of mocking the incident.
And how can we forget the Republican National Convention, where she made the infamous speech! Melania was seen in a cotton silk off-white Roksanda “Margot” dress, which was an instant hit and soon sold out.
After all, Melania brings with her a legacy in the garment industry – her mother was a pattern cutter. She came to the US as an immigrant with her family and in 1988, left university to become a model. It was the same year she met Donald Trump, whom she married in in 2005, wearing a $200,000 John Galliano for Christian Dior couture, crystal embellished wedding gown.
Till now, as a Mirror report says, this was all to the rags to riches fairy tale everyone thought it all was. Turns out, as of November 9, 2016, her sartorial best is yet to come, and the Americans might just have got their most glamorous First Lady yet