Take a peek into the new First Lady's wardrobe

(Left to right) Gown co-designed with Herve Pierre, white jumpsuit by Ralph Lauren and an embellished dress by Reem Acra
(Left to right) Gown co-designed with Herve Pierre, white jumpsuit by Ralph Lauren and an embellished dress by Reem Acra PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG, EPA
Off-white dress with bell sleeves by Roksanda Ilincic
Off-white dress with bell sleeves by Roksanda IlincicPHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG, EPA

Melania Trump grabs headlines and wins over critics with her fashion sense

The newly minted First Lady of the United States, Mrs Melania Trump, has courted her fair share of controversy during her and her husband’s journey to The White House.

History of her nude photo shoots during her modelling days surfaced during Mr Donald Trump’s election bid. And who can forget her infamous speech at the Republican National Convention last July, where she plagiarised her predecessor Michelle Obama’s remarks in her Democratic National Convention speech in 2008.

But Mrs Trump, a 46-year-old former model, has fared much better in the fashion stakes.

Many were keen to see what she would wear at the presidential inauguration last week, after a few high-profile designers stated openly that they would not dress her, citing political convictions.

They include American designers Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Phillip Lim, and French designer Sophie Theallet.

When the Slovenia-born First Lady turned up in a Ralph Lauren sky blue cashmere suit, the look garnered rave reviews and drew comparisons to Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of the late US president John F. Kennedy and one of the country’s most fashionable first ladies.

Then, at the inaugural ball that night, Mrs Trump turned heads in a crisp white gown with a thin red belt which she co-designed with French designer Herve Pierre, the former creative director of Venezuelan- American designer Carolina Herrera.

The elegant look won over fashion critics.

Just like Mrs Obama did, the new First Lady, who speaks five languages, could become a style icon at The White House. The Straits Times looks back at eight of her best looks in the past year.


1. Double-face cashmere dress and coat by Ralph Lauren

Mrs Trump wore this outfit to her husband’s inauguration in Washington last Friday.

The soft blue dress was paired with matching elbow-length gloves and heels.

The ensemble, combined with a swept-up hairdo and diamond stud earrings, created a dignified and polished look that was befitting the occasion.

Before the inauguration, her spokesman said in a statement reported by Women’s Wear Daily that “the First Lady-elect will become America’s new first lady wearing an American designer who transformed American fashion, Ralph Lauren”.

2. Gown co-designed with Herve Pierre

Mrs Trump hit the fashion mark again with this striking off-the-shoulder column gown, which she wore at the Freedom Ball, Mr Trump’s inaugural ball.

The fact that she co-designed the tailored ivory floor-length piece also alludes to her own sense of style.

The dress came with a subtle thigh-high slit and a figure-flattering red silk ribbon belt.

Mrs Trump completed the look with her signature diamond stud earrings and a matching ring.

3. White jumpsuit by Ralph Lauren

Often seen in white outfits, Mrs Trump donned the colour again on election night at the New York Hilton Midtown last November.

The wide leg pant and asymmetrical one-shoulder top helped visually elongate her svelte figure.

The overlay that cuts across the body on a bias also subtly highlights her form. The colour choice was surprising to some as white is the official colour of the suffragette movement, which began in the late-19th century and fought for women’s right to vote.

Many Hillary Clinton supporters wore white to the polls in a show of support for a potentially historic outcome of a first woman president.

4. Embellished dress by Reem Acra

This glittering floor-length mermaid skirt ensemble was created by New York-based Lebanese designer Reem Acra.

The gown, with its form-fitting silhouette and full sleeves, was very much in line with other outfits Mrs Trump has worn.

She turned up in the custom-made dress to a pre-inauguration black-tie dinner in Washington earlier this month.

Acra has also dressed celebrities such as Madonna, Beyonce and Angelina Jolie.


5. Silk blouse by Emilia Wickstead

The feminine dusty rose blouse, matched with a white high-waisted pencil skirt,was worn during a rally in Pennsylvania for her husband in November.

The flowing silk fabric and form-fitting skirt created contrast in the look and allowed Mrs Trump to look soft yet sophisticated, graceful yet sharp-edged.


6. Pussy-bow shirt by Gucci

Mrs Trump picked this fuchsia silk crepe de chine blouse for the second presidential debate in October.

The choice surprised some, given the name of the style of shirt– a blouse with a bow tied at the neck, named after those frequently tied around cats’ necks.

Just days earlier, an audio clip was released, in which her husband was heard bragging about kissing and grabbing women.

A Trump campaign spokesman later said the fashion choice was not intentional.

7. Off-white dress with bell sleeves by Roksanda Ilincic

The sophisticated number with balloon cuffs, worn at the Republican National Convention in July, was designed by Serbian-born, London-based designer Roksanda Ilincic.

Though the dress might have been overshadowed by the speech controversy, that did not stop it from selling out in just an hour after Mrs Trump made her speech.

Women’s Wear Daily reported that she bought the cotton-silk piece from luxury e-commerce site, Net-a-Porter.


8. Camel coat by Balmain and dress by Michael Kors

To cast her vote on election day, Mrs Trump put on this classic and refined coat and dress combination.

The light beige jacket with gold brass buttons was from French design house Balmain, while the simple white shift dress was from the Michael Kors Collection.

The positioning of the jacket balanced atop the shoulders– known as shoulder robing in the fashion world– also communicated a sense of wealth and privilege that matches Mrs Trump’s position.

She paired the outfit with a pair of nude patent leather Christian Louboutin stilettos.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2017, with the headline 'First Lady of fashion'. Print Edition | Subscribe