Luxury fashion designer Tom Ford is the latest to step away from future first lady Melania Trump, refusing to continue working as one of her stylists. He is not alone. Ford joins a growing list of well-known designers, including Marc Jacobs and Sophie Theallet, who penned a letter urging her peers to avoid working with the new first lady.
Ford was more diplomatic in his statement, unlike Theallet’s scathing words, regarding first lady fashion. During his recent visit to the popular talk show ‘The View’, host Joy Behar inquired about the move. “I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago and I declined; she’s not necessarily my image,” he said, explaining that “even had Hillary won she shouldn’t be wearing my clothes, they’re too expensive. They’re not artificially expensive, it’s how much it costs to make these things. I think the first lady has to relate to anybody.”
Donald Trump’s win on Nov. 8 has proven to be an interesting issue for the fashion industry, and has been more challenging than just a debate about the politically correct price-point for a first lady’s clothing. Many industry experts agree that Mrs. Trump may be easier to avoid, than dress. And, of course, there is the ever-present wild card of President-elect Trump, who may set of a Twitter rant if he is unhappy with one of the choices.
Designers enjoyed an almost unprecedented golden age with current first lady Michelle Obama, who chose garments to convey the importance of the American clothing industry, and young talents who are giving fashion new life. Obama helped elevate many up-and-coming designers in the public’s consciousness, like Jason Wu, Prabal Gurung, and Theallet. The era of this diverse group of talented designers from all over the globe may be coming to an end, with regard to Melania Trump, and her new wardrobe.
There seems to be a fine line between being a fashion icon, and becoming an approachable first lady. Time will tell which side Trump will fall.