Whether we like it or not, Donald Trump’s inauguration is coming up, and the question on everyone’s minds is who on earth will be audacious enough to provide a dress for Melania Trump on the day we officially we pass the highest office in this country to her husband, a rabid bigot.
While those in the fashion industry have been debating their role when it comes to dressing the first family and whether or not they want to be complicit in normalizing them, at least one top designer, Tommy Hilfiger, seems pretty cool with it.
His comments come in light of designer Sophia Theallet’s public refusal to dress Trump. Theallet, who is one of Michelle Obama’s go-to designers, tweeted an open letter describing exactly why she would not be dressing the future first lady. “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next first lady,” she wrote. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”
Apparently this was a bit too militant for the all-American Hilfiger, who told WWD, “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her.”
He went on to say, “Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”
I don’t know much about fashion, but we are far past the point of telling people not to get political. A Trump inauguration is not a politically neutral event, and trying to make it one by focusing on “beauty”— particularly when Trump himself has such a sordid obsession with it—is futile. Dressing Melania will be seen as an endorsement of her husband’s racist campaign, as well as an endorsement of that one time she plagiarized a speech by soon-to-be-former First Lady Michelle Obama.