White House Black Market is literally living up to its name. Gearing up for the inaugural ball on Jan. 20, White House Black Market has created an Inaugural Dress Collection that will be available online and sold in Washington, D.C., area stores, starting Nov. 14.
The limited-edition 12-piece collection was inspired by the contemporary style of Melania Trump, wife of president-elect Donald Trump, and the classic style of Hillary Clinton. There are seven floor-length gowns and five short-to-midi cocktail dresses in the collection, retailing from $180 to $300.
The dresses are designed for those planning to attend the multiple balls several nights surrounding the Jan. 20 inauguration, as well as formal holiday celebrations. White House Black Market also produced an inaugural dress collection following the elections in 2008 and 2012, which sold well. The retailer declined to give a sales projection for the new dress collection.
Lisa Converse, senior vice president of design at White House Black Market, said they used both Trump and Clinton as starting points to develop the inauguration collection. “We thought about how do we make women feel beautiful and sophisticated, with contemporary designs,” said Converse. They also took inspiration from the party and patriotic colors.
“We have white, red and blue, and of course, we have black,” she said. Some options designed with Trump in mind were “more contemporary, a little bit more of a youthful and chic edge,” said Converse. When it came to Clinton, it was a little harder. “How do you take someone who doesn’t tend to get dressed up and is always in pants suits, and do something very inspiring for her?” said Converse. “We started with the idea of the tux, and made it a gown, and thought about how we would approach that,” she said.
The gowns inspired by Trump are those with one-shouldered, cold-shouldered and low-draped backs, while Clinton’s gowns are designed to be a little more classic, with fuller, softer skirts. Cocktail dresses include a jacquard floral red dress with a fitted bodice and high-low hem, as well as the same dress in blue, as well as a metallic fit and flare dress. There are also waterfall ruffle design details. Fabrics include nylon, polyester and spandex.
White House Black Market, which produces overseas, planned to manufacture the same 12 dresses no matter who won the election. A spokeswoman said Wednesday the collection is staying the same and no new looks have been added, nor are any dresses being removed from the collection following Trump’s win.
The collection is available in sizes 00 to 14 in six Washington, D.C.-area stores in Virginia: Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Springfield, Bethesda and Woodbridge. It will also be available on whitehouseblackmarket.com.
Marketing support for the collection includes sponsorship of the Washingtonian Inaugural Ball on Jan. 21 at the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum, as well as regional ads with a two-page spread in the Washingtonian featuring dresses from the collection. There will also be Facebook Inauguration Dress sweepstakes with social support across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter, as well as an inaugural-themed board on Pinterest highlighting dresses from the collection and lifestyle party ideas.