The public appearances the First Lady of the United States makes every year may be compared to the red carpet commitments of Hollywood actresses, but is she entitled to designer freebies?
It might only be two months since Melania Trump became the FLOTUS but she already made several headlines for her designer looks. Ferom her sky blue Ralph Lauren ensemble to her recent Michael Kors suit, the mother-of-one makes sure that she is appropriately dressed for her duties.
However, unlike Tinseltown’s stars, Melania is actually the one paying for her wardrobe bills. Red carpet stylist Phillip Bloch, who styled Tiffany Trump for her father’s inauguration, told The Hollywood Reporter that Melania doesn’t need freebies.
“Why do rich people need free clothes? Melania should buy her clothes. Mrs. Trump has been a longtime client at our New York boutique. She has a keen understanding of what works best for her and her lifestyle. My embroidered black suit reflects the streamlined glamour that she is known for.”
Following the election, several designers like Tom Ford, Zac Posen, and Marc Jacobs said that they wouldn’t dress the current First Lady. Their statements might be seen as lack of enthusiasm from the fashion community, but for Phillip, what they say do not matter because Melania “is married to a rich man and can buy whatever she wants!”
Zac said that he does not intend to dress the First Family for the reason that he wants his brand to be devoid of politics. Marc, on the other hand, would “rather put energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Donald Trump and his supporter.”
As per Harpers Bazaar, Cynthia Rowley found the designers’ refusal to dress Melania unreasonable.
“[Melania] can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it? Just because she’s shown wearing a designer does not mean that designer is endorsing her, her husband or any of their beliefs. Checking someone’s ethical beliefs before they’re allowed to purchase sets up an exclusionary dynamic that feeds into the exact mentality that is preventing us from moving forward in a positive direction.”
Diane Von Furstenberg also believes Melania is undeserving of such treatment from designers. For Diane, the fashion industry must promote “beauty, inclusiveness, diversity.”
While the rules aren’t always announced, First Ladies are not supposed to let designers dress them for free. They also do not have the privilege of a clothing allowance. They are expected to pay for their own clothes although it is assumed that they get discounts for their purchases.
Michelle Obama had the position for eight years but according to her then press secretary, Joanna Rosholm, Barack Obama’s other half didn’t receive designer freebies during her stay in the White House.
“Mrs. Obama pays for her clothing. For official events of public or historic significance, such as a state visit, the first lady’s clothes may be given as a gift by a designer and accepted on behalf of the U.S. government. They are then stored by the National Archives.”
It is believed that the Duchess of Cambridge, known by many as Kate Middleton, also does not accept designer gifts. For the family’s Royal Canadian Tour in September last year, the things she wore, which reportedly amounted to $80,000, were bought using her father-in-law’s “household” budget.
Designer Katherine Hooker told NY Mag, “[Kate] doesn’t take free clothes, and I’ve heard that from other people who sent her things. She always comes to the shop, which is nice. And we’ve sent her a few things when she didn’t have time to come in.”
Throughout the years, Kate has earned the reputation of not only mixing “highs with lows,” but also being unafraid of repeating her clothes.
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