First Lady Melania Trump has faced controversy about her clothing since even before Donald J. Trump took office in January. A week and a half after the election results came in, a slew of designers including Sophie Theallet, Christian Siriano and more, who have famously dressed previous First Ladies, announced they would decline to lend Melania any of their designs (though Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has defended their choice to dress her in pieces like their $51,500 silk coat). Within the last few weeks, the First Lady courted controversy for wearing stiletto heels while visiting flood victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and drew mixed reviews on social media for the bright pink Delpozo coat she wore to give a speech at the United Nations.
Until now, the stylist behind Melania’s lavish looks has kept mum about his work with the controversial First Lady’s fashion. But Hervé Pierre, the former creative director of Carolina Herrera who designed Melania’s inaugural gown, revealed why he’s dressing her amid all of the controversy in a candid interview with the New York Times.
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“The beauty of this country is it’s a democracy, so some people want to dress certain people and some people don’t want to. I choose to,” Pierre said. And despite the drama surrounding many of the looks Melania steps out wearing, Pierre admits that’s one of the main reasons he wanted to work with her.
“What interests me in this relationship is not just finding pretty clothes — a lot of people can do that. It’s more about the legacy of this woman. Everybody has a different reaction to what she’s wearing,” he said.
Pierre explained that their relationship is purely aesthetic, not political. “If you forget about the political, or whatever, that’s behind it, the needs are so interesting to answer. Even if I’m not creating the clothes, it is very creative to consider how it’s going to be perceived.”
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When he’s shopping for Melania — he tends to scour the racks at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Michael Kors and Dior — Pierre always makes sure not to reveal whom he’s shopping for. “What is challenging is when I cannot say what it is for. I always ask: ‘Was it already on the red carpet? Did somebody already wear it?'” he said. His ultimate goal of the job: “I don’t want her to be on the ‘Who Wore It Better’ list.”
And the stylist isn’t afraid to acknowledge the fact that some of the outfits he’s helped plan for Melania ended up being major misses.
“When you decide, you divide. I’m not always right. I make mistakes, and same for her,” Pierre said. “There’s no How to Be the Perfect First Lady book. You learn on the spot.”
What do you think of Pierre’s collaborations with Trump so far?