Fashion and politics make for strange bedfellows. For every feminist t-shirt that walks a runway or ACLU ribbon that appears on a red carpet, a woman who is at odds with a designer’s personal political agenda can easily buy and wear a head-to-toe look by that very designer. Fashion is a business as well as an art form. While Richard Prince can take to “disowning” a piece commissioned by Ivanka Trump—and reportedly return his $36,000 fee for the work to the art advisor who brokered the deal—it would be a quite the undertaking for a successful fashion designer to do the same.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Last night, Melania Trump wore a nearly $10,000 beaded black skirt suit by Michael Kors to her husband’s first speech to Congress. It was a somber affair and the hue fit the scene—but was in stark contrast to the Democratic congresswomen who wore all-white to “stand in solidarity with the women of our nation,” in the words of Representative Lois Frankel of Florida, the chairwoman of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group.
Kors’s Spring 2017 show featured musical guest Rufus Wainwright singing songs like Judy Garland’s “Get Happy,” and the singer declaring, “I’m with her,” less than two months before the election that would prove Hilary Clinton’s loss. Kors was also an avid Clinton supporter, donating to the former Secretary of State’s campaigns over the years and awarding her with the Michael Kors Award for Outstanding Community Service from God’s Love We Deliver in 2013. It might be assumed that Kors would be adverse to having Mrs. Trump don his designs. However, when asked for comment on the First Lady’s choice last night, Kors was gracious, explaining, “Mrs. Trump has been a longtime client at our New York boutique. She has a keen understanding of what works best for her and her lifestyle. My embroidered black suit reflects the streamlined glamour that she is known for.”
Would it do any good to disavow his creation? It can be presumed from Kors’s quote that the First Lady purchased the suit that she wore and it was not gifted or borrowed. After all, we are in a free trade, capitalist society—for now!—and anyone with the funds or line of credit is free to purchase what they will.