“They were just really cute, I was like, ‘Those some nice boots!’” Yes, my friends, that is a direct quote from former First Lady Michelle Obama, speaking recently about her Balenciaga Sequin Knife thigh-high boots worn on the last stop of her book tour. Yes, she wore them in public, and yes, the media gushed.
HuffPo called her selection the “boots of your dreams” while Mashable claimed the internet had “died” after viewing Mrs. Obama in head to toe lemon yellow sparkly duds. The internet did not succumb, although there have been reports of an uptick in burned retinas worldwide, after the photos went viral.
Mrs. Obama was once known for her down-to-street-level style, often pairing a designer label with off-the-rack rags, but this jumps to a new definition of street level – as in, the front of the high-priced designer storefronts.
Frankly, if one didn’t recognize the Obamas, it would appear a middle-aged working woman was stepping up her stiletto game in sporting the skin-tight, $4,000 choice of footwear. Michelle can do no wrong in the fashion department, according to magazines and page-six editors – the very same people who have shunned First Lady Melania Trump’s impeccable style. But most conservatives notice. And her latest fashion disaster was an assault on the senses, so much so, James Woods tweeted:
On every magazine cover/On no magazine covers… pic.twitter.com/9RM7Ob3ZsI
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) December 20, 2018
First Lady Melania is an accomplished, intelligent, and beautiful woman, whose sense of self and style is usually what fashion magazine editors crave – but you will not find her gracing their covers. She is married to a man they wish would go away, and she is just a constant reminder of his success, which places Melania in the crosshairs of their hatred.
Since she walked alongside her husband on Inauguration Day, Melania has been dissed by the press and several American designers. Zac Posen, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Phillip Lim, and Sophie Theallet have publicly refused to dress Melania and the other women in the Trump family. And lest anyone forget, this is the same family they all fawned over, fought over, and gladly duck-lipped for red-carpet photos before Trump unceremoniously kicked fashion icon Hillary Clinton to the curb.
And oh, what they are missing – a statuesque, stunning, and brilliant blank canvas to mold their clothing upon. Someone who could elaborate the reasons for selecting the designer in international circles instead of homegirl slang replies such as “Those some nice boots!”
Yet Melania does have one very important man in her camp, French-born designer Hervé Pierre, who was involved in creating one of her Inaugural gowns. Pierre once toiled for fashion houses of Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta before beginning a lucrative freelance career. And he adores Melania, her sense of style, and determination to be remarkable and memorable in her role as the first lady.
His friendship will not be shamed by others with a political ax to grind. Perhaps it is because Pierre immigrated to the U.S. in his 20s and refuses to play the political games his brothers and sisters in the industry see as necessary.
He addressed critics:
“The beauty of this country is it’s a democracy, so some people want to dress certain people and some people don’t want to. I choose to. If you forget about the political, or whatever, that’s behind it, the needs are so interesting to answer. Even if I’m not creating the clothes, it is very creative to consider how it’s going to be perceived. And when you decide, you divide. I’m not always right. I make mistakes, and same for her. There’s no ‘How to Be the Perfect First Lady’ book. You learn on the spot.”
Bold Patterns of Courage
Other designers have stood up for Mrs. Trump, silencing critics, as did Mark Badgley and James Mischka. “We support the office of the First Lady, so the answer would be yes she’s a lovely person. She’s very attractive and has a great figure.”
And close pal of the Clinton clan, Diane von Furstenberg, agreed, telling Women’s Wear Daily she too would dress Melania:
“Melania deserves the respect of any First Lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity. We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example.”
It’s a risk, make no mistake, for these designers to be all in for Mrs. Trump. So, a shout-out is well earned by the above textile artists and others, such as Rag and Bone, Thom Browne, and Tommy Hilfiger, who reminded us “You’re not going to get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”
Perhaps designers should take up advising and influencing of one of their favorite sisters, Michelle Obama, as she has steered into the skid of questionable fashion choices in a very technicolor way. But she can still be saved. The first order of treatment, however, must be absolutely no stretch, sequined thigh-high boots.