Carolina Herrera 'honoured' to dress Melania Trump, after other designers snub future First Lady

Carolina Herrera attends the event An Evening Honoring Carolina Herrera in New York on Dec 6, 2016.
Carolina Herrera attends the event An Evening Honoring Carolina Herrera in New York on Dec 6, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

Fashion designer Carolina Herrera has said she would be happy to dress Melania Trump - after a host of designers gave the US First Lady-in-waiting the cold shoulder.

Venezuelan-born Herrera, 77, insisted it would be her honour to offer the former model her clothes, splitting from a number of peers who have publicly boycotted her since her husband Donald Trump became President-elect of the US.

"Of course I will, as the first lady of this country I will. Of course," she said, walking the red carpet at the Women's Leadership Council in New York.

"It is an honour to dress the first ladies of the country and it's something to do for the United States. It's not for myself. It's for the public."

Herrera is said to be a Trump family favourite. Ivanka Trump is regularly among starlets and socialites in the front row of her New York Fashion Week shows and she dressed Donald Trump's second wife, Marla Maples, for their 1993 wedding. She also counts previous Republican first ladies Laura and Barbara Bush among her friends.

The designer was lauded at the New York event on Tuesday (Dec 6) for her 35 years of fashion by Emmy Rossum and Seth Meyers, among others. Diana Ross sang a mini-concert in Herrera's honour, including hits like Ain't No Mountain High Enough and I'm Coming Out.

Shameless actress Rossum said Herrera, whom she called "the chicest woman alive,'' was the first to design for her on the red carpet, and over the years, had helped her get out of her comfort zone.

"She persuaded me to embrace increasingly bolder and brighter prints,'' Rossum said. "She dared me to stand out.''

Herrera's nod of approval for Mrs Trump comes after a few high-profile designers refused to dress the future first lady citing political convictions.

New York native Marc Jacobs said last week he would "rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Trump and his supporters".

Designers Sophie Theallet and Tom Ford, who have both dressed First Lady Michelle Obama, also said they would not be doing so for Mrs Trump.

Tom Ford recently revealed that he had refused to dress Mrs Trump in the past.

"I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago and I declined," he told The View on Nov 30, going on to describe her look as "not my image".

Ford reasoned that his clothes were "too expensive" for a first lady, who should be able to "relate to everybody", despite having previously dressed Michelle Obama.

His decision followed that of Obama favourite Sophie Theallet who issued an open letter to customers to announce her refusal to contribute in any way to Mrs Trump's wardrobe.

'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,' she said. 

Marc Jacobs followed suit, telling "I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump. Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by (Donald) Trump and his supporters."

But others, including Tommy Hilfiger and Jean-Paul Gaultier, have said they would not have a problem.

"If you have to be truly political, there are probably a few people you can dress," Gaultier said on Tuesday.

 "She dresses very well by herself, I have nothing bad to say against her, it's not a question of politics," he added.

Gaultier also said he thought Mrs Trump was better dressed than Mrs Clinton when the two went out to cast their vote.

"I don't know who advises her or maybe it's herself," he said.

"But if she asked me to dress her, why not? Definitely."