The designer opens up about designing the First Lady's white gown

By Jillian Ruffo
Updated January 25, 2017 06:51 PM
President Donald Trump Attends Inauguration Freedom Ball
Credit: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty

Hervé Pierre, the designer behind Melania Trump‘s inauguration night dress, has opened up about his big moment on the national stage. The former Carolina Herrera creative director spoke to Harper’s Bazaar about the “honor” of creating the First Lady’s white off-the-shoulder gown for the Inaugural Ball, and exactly what went into designing the piece for her first night in the White House.

“She knows fashion—she was a model and has worked in a design studio—so she knows about construction,” Pierre tells Harper’s Bazaar, adding that she hired him to design the dress after initially contacting him to be her personal stylist. “When I brought her fabric swatches, she immediately picked the heaviest, most beautiful six-ply silk from Italy. She knows about fabrics. It was a very organic conversation because we have the same vocabulary.”

When it came to choosing a style, Pierre says the former model knew exactly what she wanted: something different from the more classic looks past first ladies have worn.

“She was very specific about the neckline, about all the lines being parallel,” he shares. “It was important for us not to follow any recipe for a ‘First Lady gown’. She’s presidential now; she’s not just a fashion plate.”

But some adjustments definitely had to be made, especially when she realized she wouldn’t be able to move adequately in the dress. The designer shares that Melania told him at one point during the design process, “Hervé, I love you, but I cannot move my arm to hold my husband’s arm when we dance.”

And though many designers have been outspoken about whether they will (or won’t) dress the first lady for her White House tenure, Pierre, whose 15 year stint as the creative director at Carolina Herrera ended last February, prefers to be diplomatic about it. “That’s the good thing about this country: we are all equal, but we are definitely not the same,” he says. “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.”

So what can we expect from Mrs. Trump’s wardrobe throughout her husband’s time in the White House? You’re already looking at it.

“Her next four years as First Lady are going to be, like this gown, straight to the point, perhaps with a single measured detail. I also didn’t want to refer to the past, to any period,” he says.

What do you think of the gown?