Saturday 20 July 2019

Caitlin McBride: 'Why there's no point in trying to analyse Melania Trump's wardrobe'

US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo on May 26, 2019. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
US First Lady Melania Trump visits the Mori Building Digital Art Museum in Tokyo on May 26, 2019. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019
US President Donald Trump greets First Lady Melania Trump as he takes the stage for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019. - Trump kicks off his reelection campaign at what promised to be a rollicking evening rally in Orlando. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
Trump and wife Melania head for Air Force One to depart Shannon. Photo: PA (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019. - Trump kicks off his reelection campaign at what promised to be a rollicking evening rally in Orlando. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart Shannon Airport on route to Caen, France, to commemeorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Shannon, Ireland, June 6, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
US First Lady Melania Trump pictured as she ariives at Shannon airport for the start of her visit to Ireland. Picture: Gerry Mooney
First Lady Melania Trump walks to meet US President Donald Trump before departing the White House. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Philip May and U.S. first lady Melania Trump attend a joint news conference at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in London, Britain June 4, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
Queen Elizabeth with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania. Photo: REUTERS
US President Donald Trump (L) and US First Lady Melania Trump attend an event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, in Portsmouth, southern England, on June 5, 2019
US President Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II, Melania Trump, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace (Jeff Gilbert/Daily Telegraph/PA)
U.S. President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and their son Barron Trump, arrive on the South Lawn of the White House, on March 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Bech, Fla. (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk along the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019, as they return from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump speak to the press as they make their way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on October 15, 2018. - Trump is heading to Florida after Hurricane Michael devastated the state. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron arrive for a new year's party at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on December 31, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMMNICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
US First Lady Melania Trump is seen before boarding Marine One with US President Donald Trump from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on October 15, 2018. - Trump is heading to Florida after Hurricane Michael devastated the state. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the 60th Annual Red Cross Gala at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on February 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
President Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Air Force One at the Palm Beach International Airport as they prepare to spend part of the weekend together at Mar-a-Lago resort on February 10, 2017 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (C) climbs back into her motorcade after traveling to Texas to visit facilities that house and care for children taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border June 21, 2018 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
Support act: Melania Trump
Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd along with his wife Melania Trump during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

Melania Trump made - as she tends to - one hell of an entrance as she joined husband, US president Donald Trump in his official bid for re-election.

On Tuesday night, the American first lady sashayed on stage with the ease only wealthy, former models seem to possess, in a dazzling yellow jumpsuit by Ralph Lauren.

She was in uncharacteristically good form, arriving hand-in-hand with her husband of 14 years and seemed genuinely happy as she took to the microphone to launch their campaign for four more years in the White House.

But - what about that jumpsuit?

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019. - Trump kicks off his reelection campaign at what promised to be a rollicking evening rally in Orlando. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive for the official launch of the Trump 2020 campaign at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on June 18, 2019. - Trump kicks off his reelection campaign at what promised to be a rollicking evening rally in Orlando. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

The canary yellow was in stark contrast to the bright whites she wore in the latter half of Trump’s 2016 campaign, including the white jumpsuit by the same designer the wore on election night that looked more fitting for a quick jaunt to Mar-a-Lago than an impending inauguration.

For the early days of the Trump administration, popular theory took hold that she was a damsel in distress, locked in the gilded cage of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: body language experts and fashion analysts made careers for themselves over the scrutiny of her every move - and outfit.

Few could identify a pattern or crack the secret code she was clearly trying to tell critics that she was secretly one of them. Melania gave only a handful of interviews, but in each, she dug her heels in further in support of her husband (notably condemning his policy in holding children crossing the Mexican border in detention centres).

Slowly, but effectively, general consensus is that Melania is not Rapunzel trapped in a tower, but an indifferent public figure who values the security her husband’s wealth and status affords her and has no desire to supplement his work by doing anything of her own.

Melania is, for all intents and purposes, a clothes horse. She may have hung up her modelling shoes long ago, but the woman knows how to carry an outfit, a task made all the easier when each ensemble is tailor made for her figure and comes at eye-watering price tags.

In 2017, for a garden event at the White House, she wore a $1,000 Balmain shirt, she has more Hermès Birkin bags than you can count and the furore around her $51,000 Dolce & Gabbana jacket at the G7 summit  still follows her.

U.S. first lady Melania Trump (C) climbs back into her motorcade after traveling to Texas to visit facilities that house and care for children taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border June 21, 2018 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (C) climbs back into her motorcade after traveling to Texas to visit facilities that house and care for children taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border June 21, 2018 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland

Her most controversial look was undoubtedly the ‘I Don’t Care, Do You?’ jacket she wore to visit the aforementioned detained children in Texas; which she later said was aimed at the media and not the issue of the small children who had been separated from their parents.

On the Trumps’ recent trip to the UK, she wore a sleeveless white column Dior gown, styled her hair in a tight French twist and wore a pair of inexplicable white elbow length gloves for a state dinner at Buckingham Palace. Throughout the trip, she displayed a veritable parade of undeniably beautiful looks, but ones which held no message or meaning.

It was the same pattern over three days in Ireland: her looks are flawless, but there is nothing behind them. While former first ladies and royals the world over, spend most of their careers strategising and perfecting ways to send the message they want through their clothes, Melania simply wears what she wants because she wants.

After Trump beat pollsters by winning the 2016 election, the deep dive into Melania’s character began and turned up few results, other than two profiles in GQ and Vanity Fair. 

Her preference for white was at first thought to be in support of the women’s suffrage movement and a subtle dig at her husband’s misogynistic speech.

After his ‘grab ‘em by the p***y’ tape leaked in 2016, she wore a pink Gucci pussybow blouse, which many speculated was a silent protest to the audio. But, as it turns out, there is no grand plan of expression through fashion and Melania simply likes wearing white and pussybow blouses.

While she continues to soften the Trump image of fire and brimstone, fashion journalists have taken a step back from their usual devoted analysis because much of it is a fruitless effort. Her influence and reach is undeniable, but the only message she's sending is that she'll continue to do - and wear - what she wants.

As for that jumpsuit?

Well, sometimes a jumpsuit is just a jumpsuit.

Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd along with his wife Melania Trump during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd along with his wife Melania Trump during his election night event at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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