Last week, designer Sophie Theallet whose dressed Michelle Obama made it clear that she would not be dressing future first lady Melania Trump. This week we're finding out that not all of her peers agree — and at least one is speaking out against it.
At the Angel Ball in New York City on Monday, Tommy Hilfiger was asked for his thoughts on Theallet's viral open letter which stated, "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. The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by."
Hilfiger stated that he was of the complete opposite opinion before praising the future first lady and Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, for their beauty. He also said that he believed designers shouldn't get so "political," while comparing the future first lady to our current one, Michelle Obama.
"I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her," Hilfiger said. "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 as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania."
Hilfiger's statement overlooks the role of fashion as art which has been used for centuries to make political statements, both literal and metaphorical. What's more it forgets the fact that we so often use fashion as a representation of ourselves. In a recent example of this, Lady Gaga wore a white pantsuit to the American Music Awards as a statement of solidarity with Hillary Clinton.
If clothing is the medium of art for fashion designers it becomes paired with their beliefs and experiences, inherently political. In this way, whether he is capable of seeing it or not, Hilfiger's decision accept the Trump family as clients is no less of a political statement than Theallet's decision to refuse.