After designer Sophie Theallet penned an open letter regarding her refusal to dress Melania Trump, things got a little heated in the fashion world. “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,” Theallet wrote. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”
Theallet, a favourite designer of current First Lady Michelle Obama, urged her fellow designers to do the same. Apparently, Tommy Hilfiger did not get the memo. “I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her,” Hilfiger told WWD.
“Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes,” he continued. “I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”
Hilfiger has previously worked with Ivanka for a Tommy Jeans campaign in the ’90s. “She was a doll, she was a sweetheart,” he said of the future First Lady’s step-daughter. “She is today… more sophisticated, more grown up. She’s an amazing girl.”
A few designers remained neutral but cautious—Jeremy Scott of Moschino told Vanity Fair he would give Melania the benefit of the doubt, but felt it was hard to separate her beautiful aesthetic from her politics, while Joseph Altuzarra told the New York Times, “I don’t want to not dress people I disagree with.”
A handful of designers chose to refrain from discussion: Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Rosie Assoulin, Diane von Furstenberg and Thakoon Panichgul were approached by WWD for comment, to which they politely declined.