Which Designers Are and Aren't in Favor of Dressing Melania Trump

A running list of figures within the fashion industry who have expressed their stances on outfitting the incoming First Lady.
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A running list of figures within the fashion industry who have expressed their stances on outfitting the incoming First Lady.
Melania Trump at the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Melania Trump at the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Thursday, Nov. 17, eight days after Donald Trump became the President-elect of the United States, designer Sophie Theallet took to Twitter to post an open letter stating that she would not dress the incoming First Lady, Melania Trump. In the time since, the fashion industry has looked to Theallet's fellow designers for their own stances on whether they will outfit Mrs. Trump, if asked. 

On the heels of Theallet, some figures, including Marc Jacobs, have expressed their refusal, while others, such as Tommy Hilfiger, Thom Browne and Diane von Furstenberg, have been more supportive. Still others fall somewhere in between. In case our readers are interested in their favorite designers' point of view on the matter, we're keeping a running list of every designer who's made a statement so far. (We should note that some designers have been far more resolute than others.) Find those below, and stay tuned — we'll update this story with any additional designers as they voice their positions and reports come to the surface.

In favor of dressing Mrs. Trump:

Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana: "Melania Trump #DGwoman ❤❤❤❤❤ thank you 🇺🇸 #madeinitaly🇮🇹." {@stefanogabbana/Instagram}

Tommy Hilfiger: "I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her. Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. 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." {WWD}

Diane von Furstenberg: "Donald Trump was elected and he will be our president. Melania deserves the respect of any first lady before her. Our role as part of the fashion industry is to promote beauty, inclusiveness, diversity. We should each be the best we can be and influence by our example." {WWD}

Thom Browne: "Out of respect for the position of the first lady of our United States, I would be honored to be considered to design for any first lady of the United States." {WWD}

Carolina Herrera: "I think that in two or three months they'll reach out, because it's fashion. You'll see everyone dressing Melania. She's representing the United States." {Business of Fashion

Marcus Wainwright of Rag & Bone: "It would be hypocritical to say no to dressing a Trump. If we say we are about inclusivity and making American manufacturing great again, then we have to put that before personal political beliefs." {The New York Times}

Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka: "We support the office of the first lady, so the answer would be yes. She's a lovely person," said Mischka. Added Badgley, "She's very attractive and has a great figure. Hopefully she’ll support American designers." {WWD}

Ralph Lauren: From a WWD report: "In an act of his own bipartisanship, Ralph Lauren, an unabashed Hillary Clinton supporter, is believed to be working on a gown and an Inauguration Day ensemble for the Slovenian-born former model. With multiple black-tie events scheduled for this week, Trump could be wearing the Ralph Lauren gown to a Trump family-hosted candlelight dinner for 1,500 Thursday night at Union Station." {WWD}

Karl Lagerfeld: From a WWD report: "...while Lagerfeld is thought to be designing for Trump, the affiliated brand under which he's doing so is unclear. Though Chanel first comes to mind, he has two other seats of employment, his eponymous brand and Fendi." {WWD}

Hervé Pierre: "I'm not doing politics, I'm doing dresses. We are not suddenly brokering a big deal between China and Russia. If people don't want to dress her, I think it's sad, but I was honored. I don't criticize these people — it's their choice, and that's the beauty of democracy." {Harper's Bazaar}

Not in favor:

Sophie Theallet: "As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles. I will not participate in dressing or associate myself 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." {@sophietheallet/Twitter}

Marc Jacobs: "I have no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump. I didn't see [Sophie Theallet's] letter. Personally, I'd rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by [Donald] Trump and his supporters." {WWD}

Derek Lam: "What a tough question to answer now that the election has been decided! I've been slammed on social media when expressing an opinion about the election outcome. I was warned by people that I should not make an opinion, which could alienate a client. Having been duly warned, my response is, while I have incredible respect for our country's political institutions, I find it challenging to be personally involved in dressing the new first lady. I would rather concentrate my energies on efforts towards a more just, honorable and a mutually respectful world. I don't know Melania Trump personally, so I don't wish my comments to seem I am prejudging her personal values, but I really don't see myself getting involved with the Trump presidency." {WWD}

Phillip Lim: "It's been such an emotional roller coaster of an election process. The result has only confirmed my belief that we must stand for what we represent as a brand, so my sentiment is still the same. As a global brand, we are always looking to partner with individuals that we have authentic relationships with — ultimately, women and men that share similar set of values, desires and ideologies: inclusion, diversity, justice, consciousness, innovation…. With that said, we do not have a current relationship with Mrs. Trump and I don’t foresee a relationship developing under the Trump administration." {WWD}

Humberto Leon of Kenzo and Opening Ceremony: "No one should and if she buys your clothes, tell people you don't support it. You know who you are!" {Humberto Leon/Facebook}

Tom Ford: "I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago and I declined. She's not necessarily my image. And also the First Lady, other than the fact that I'm a democrat and voted for Hillary and I'm very sad and disappointed that she's not in office. But other than that, even had Hillary won, she shouldn't be wearing my clothes. They're too expensive. And I don't mean that in a bad way. They're not artificially expensive. It's how much it costs to make these things." {"The View"}

Zac Posen: He has "no current plans to dress members of the first family. Right now, I'm staying away from bringing my brand into politics. There are issues that are being questioned that are fundamentally upsetting to me — deeply: LGBT rights, immigration, funding for the arts, Planned Parenthood, and women's rights. These are just issues that are very close to my heart, and I use my own private voice and funds to fight for them and in support of them. I think it's important to use your voice. I think that every brand and person has a right to be vocal.

"I'm very upset with the state of affairs right now. I always try to be optimistic. I think that freedom will prevail. And I don't dictate who buys my clothing in a store." {The Daily Beast

Neutral:

Cynthia Rowley: "In the midst of this heated debate, the question actually seems somewhat irrelevant. She can simply purchase whatever she wants, so how can we control it? Just because she's shown wearing a designer does not mean that designer is endorsing her, her husband or any of their beliefs. Checking someone's ethical beliefs before they're allowed to purchase sets up an exclusionary dynamic that feeds into the exact mentality that is preventing us from moving forward in a positive direction. Some people say fashion and politics should never mix, but when given the choice, I think you should address and dress your conscience." {WWD}

Vera Wang: "We have not been contacted by the Trump campaign or administration thus far. But the first lady-elect should support American fashion, as did her predecessors." {WWD}

Joseph Altuzarra: "I don't want to not dress people I disagree with." {The New York Times

Christina Zeller of Delvaux: "Ah, that's the big question. Some brands have taken a very strong position to say we will not dress the first lady. For me, she is the first lady but she remains a woman. We will never send product but if she wants to buy Delvaux, I think she will buy Delvaux...Normally Delvaux is a very discreet brand, we never do any kind of endorsement and we never pay anyone to wear our product. Recently, I think she purchased four bags at Delvaux. She can buy herself you know. It's already part of our brand philosophy. We will not run after the first lady but we will not avoid the first lady. If she is a customer, she is a customer as anyone else is." {WWD}

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