Incoming first lady Melania Trump wore a sky-blue cashmere jacket and mock turtleneck dress by Ralph Lauren, the brand that designed so many Hillary Clinton pantsuits, on Inauguration Day.
“It was important to us to uphold and celebrate the tradition of creating iconic American style for this moment,” Lauren’s company said in a statement.
With her hair in a soft updo and wearing long, sky-blue suede gloves and matching stilettos, Mrs. Trump was greeted at the White House by President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, the latter in a deep-red belted short-sleeve tweed dress by Jason Wu. It had black trim and a matching double-breasted coat.
President Donald Trump, wearing a red tie and black overcoat, opted to leave his suit jacket unbuttoned.
Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka, chose white Oscar de la Renta with a tiny American flag pin, and Hillary Clinton showed up in an off-white Ralph Lauren pantsuit that harkened back to one she wore in July to accept the Democratic nomination for president. Her overcoat matched the ensemble. Tiffany Trump also opted for white and wore a double-breasted coat.
Who else made a large fashion statement for Trump’s big day? His senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, in a Gucci military-style wool coat of red, white and blue, with two rows of cat-head buttons and a red cloche hat. She described her look as “Trump revolutionary wear.” Social media users had a field day, the most polite comparison being to the uniform costumes in “The Nutcracker” ballet. Conway’s coat retails for $3,600.
Mrs. Trump’s look, with its bolero-style jacket, prompted comparisons to a fashion icon of the past, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who wore a powder-blue outfit by Oleg Cassini with a matching pillbox hat to husband John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration.
“I think she looked sensational,” New York fashion expert Hal Rubenstein said of the new first lady’s style. “She’s not a huge risk-taker, but she dresses in that smart, sophisticated Upper East Side urban style.”
On Thursday, when inauguration events kicked off, Mrs. Trump shimmered in gold for the Candlelight Dinner in a long-sleeve beaded gown by Reem Acra. Ivanka Trump wore a white cap-sleeve de la Renta gown with a large black bow at the back.
For the wreath-laying ceremony earlier that day at Arlington National Cemetery, Mrs. Trump picked a black military-style coat by the New York-based designer Norisol Ferrari. Ivanka Trump provided Thursday’s pop of color in kelly green de la Renta.
Will Melania Trump continue to be inspired, fashion-wise, by the late Mrs. Onassis? Will she embrace young design talent and the fashion world as wholeheartedly as Mrs. Obama?
The new first lady is under no obligation to be inspired at all by those who came before, Rubenstein said. One thing’s for sure, he added:
“She knows her clothes, but that’s her wardrobe. There’s a difference between a wardrobe and a mission and I think right now she hasn’t shown that card, and she may not.”
LEANNE ITALIE, Associated Press