IN THE TRENCHES: For her first solo trip abroad, First Lady Melania Trump is en route to Ghana, the first of four countries she plans to visit this week.
While many Washingtonians might want to take flight as the battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh continues, FLOTUS’ trip was months in the making. Her wardrobe choices also required considerable planning. Without President Trump at her elbow — or any of the other Trump family members within sight — this will be an individual experience, and presumably a statement–making one from start to finish.
In an interview Friday, Trump’s stylist Hervé Pierre said, “It’s her trip. She really decided to do it. From the beginning, she wanted to do this.”
Expected to land in Ghana at 6 a.m., the First Lady’s travel itinerary includes stops in Malawi, Kenya and Egypt before returning to the Beltway Sunday. “She will spend time with schoolchildren, visit hospitals and do some of the things that tourists do while they are in Africa,” according to pool reporter Katie Rogers of The New York Times. “Why Africa? The White House says she has never been before and has long wanted this to be the destination for her first solo trip.”
Arriving at Joint Base Andrews around 5:45 p.m., the First Lady dressed the part of the foreign diplomat, wearing a camel-colored suede trenchcoat. (Rogers noted that “leopard-print stilettos” polished off the look.) The Vince coat was selected especially for the departure, according to Pierre. While much has been written about Trump’s affinity for European designer labels, Monday night’s choice of Vince, a U.S.-based contemporary label, was a change of pace. The company had a $1,695 suede trenchcoat on its e-commerce site discounted to $678 Monday night.
As always, Trump is in tune with fashion trends. Madonna, Karlie Kloss, Lady Gaga and Rosie Whiteley-Huntington have each worn their own takes on the trenches, during Paris Fashion Week. And Rihanna wore a Monse trench dress for a Fenty Beauty event last weekend in Dubai.
But back to the trip — the Ghanaian capital of Accra will be the first destination, with a refueling stop scheduled along the way, Rogers’ reported in her dispatch. Earlier Monday, the president of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, declared 2019 as a Year of Return, inviting the global African family to a birth-right journey home to the country. His wife Rebecca was among the spouses of heads of states who attended a reception with the First Lady last week in New York. The gathering was held on the sidelines of the United Nations’ 73rd General Assembly.
During the stay in New York, Pierre had his work cut out for him just trying to meet with the First Lady. Practically hopscotching his way through the police barricades and security checkpoints along Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower, Pierre said, “You should have seen the face of the first policeman that I met three blocks from Trump Tower. I said, ‘I have a meeting with the First Lady.’ And he looked at me like, ‘Yeah, sure, and I’m the Pope,’” Pierre said. “Usually what I do is to open my bag or my folder. Sometimes I will say, ‘Please Google my name. You won’t see my face. You will only see her dress. But at least you will know that I am not joking.’”