Is fashion’s love affair with Washington over?



Mrs Melania Trump’s sartorial choices reflect her distance from the fashion industry

NEW YORK • Last Wednesday, when Mrs Hillary Clinton stood in the New Yorker Hotel for her farewell speech, she did so in one of her signature Ralph Lauren pantsuits. Dark grey, with purple lapels and a matching purple shirt, it underscored, as so many of her fashion choices did in the run-up to the election, a point: the way two colours/ factions – red and blue – can unite to make something new.

But it also symbolised, perhaps, the end of what might have been an extraordinary relationship. And possibly the end of fashion’s seat at the power table.

More than any other industry, fashion had pledged its troth to Mrs Clinton. Vogue magazine formally endorsed her, the first time it had taken a public stand in a presidential election. W magazine editor Stefano Tonchi declared his allegiance in an editor’s letter.

Diane von Furstenberg, designer and chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), and Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue and artistic director of Conde Nast, had aggressively raised funds for her during fashion weeks and beyond: The week before election day, they chaired a fund-raiser in Washington at the Georgetown home of Ms Connie Milstein, a major Democratic donor.

Neither Mrs Trump’s wardrobe nor that of the rest of the family has been used in the traditional way to telegraph the virtues of Made in America – though that has been one of Mr Donald Trump’s most vociferously promoted platforms.

Designers including Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs and Prabal Gurung created “Made for History” merchandise for Mrs Clinton’s campaign store and contributed to a runway show/benefit during September’s New York Fashion Week.

Ralph Lauren became Mrs Clinton’s de facto sartorial consigliere, helping her shape her image from the Democratic National Convention to the debate floor.


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