BEHIND THE SEAMS: On the road since Sunday, First Lady Melania Trump will be heading back to the Beltway after numerous official stops in Asia that has highlighted her international style and original brand of diplomacy.
Following what is expected to be a morning arrival at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, the First Lady plans to participate in a Month of Military celebration. Afterwards, she is expected to return to Washington, D.C., while the President continues his trip to Vietnam and the Philippines in keeping with their plans. Nearly 10 months into the Trump administration, the First Lady has proved to be a goodwill ambassador of sorts especially overseas.
Knowing the inevitable who-is-she-wearing question would punctuate every photo-op, the First Lady gave a lot of thought to each of the 18 pieces she wore with the help of designer and stylist Hervé Pierre. Although he designed the leather pencil skirt she paired with a boldly striped and belted Fendi coat when Air Force One touched down in Tokyo, Pierre pulled together an assortment of designer labels. The former creative director at Carolina Herrera has become a confidante of Trump’s.
Starting the journey off with a blue Pucci coat for the First Couple’s departure from Andrews Air ForceBase, Trump’s more publicized looks abroad included a red sleeveless Valentino gown for dinner at Akasaka Palace in Japan. A vibrant navy Gucci gown with wide pink cuffs and a side slit from Alessandro Michele for a state dinner hosted by China President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan.
Hesitant as he was to point to any favorites, Pierre liked the navy Dior dress with cap sleeves Trump wore to greet Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at Tokyo’s Imperial Palace earlier this week. “If you find the right dress for the occasion, then 90 percent of your job is done.” he said. “I do little sketches. We put them in front of the dates and say, ‘What do you think of this?’ ‘Oh no, here it would be perfect…Here, it’s not going to work.’ It’s like a puzzle. You have a big grid and you try to make it make sense with a nice harmony.”
He continued, “It’s always very creative to find something that can be appropriate or elegant. It was a nice project to do together. Ultimately she does what she wants but we really had a nice selection. We tried to plan this trip with respect.”
Pierre first caught word of the trip around Labor Day but it wasn’t until the schedule was in place that he could get to work. “If I know the city but I don’t know what she is going to do in it, that doesn’t really help me. If she has to give a speech or go to school, she wouldn’t dress the same way.” Pierre said, adding that time restrictions often make changing outfits in between events out of the question. “If she doesn’t have time to change, she will either be underdressed for the event at night or overdressed for the morning event. It’s not really easy sometimes. I don’t know how she does it to tell you the truth. This trip has been nonstop.”
Pierre approved of the First Lady changing her hair style a few times for specific occasions – pulling it back to meet First Lady of South Korea Kim Jung-sook and leaving it down with a soft wave for a dinner at the Blue House. “It shows variety and a different approach in fashion.” he said. “It was a very nice trip to schedule. I was a little bit scared because it is not really my business. I am a little bit new at this. I am always trying to use my common sense because we know that everything is going to be analyzed and looked under the microscope. People will say, ‘Oh, she wore this because of this reference.’”
“Sometimes it’s not that complicated.” He said, “This is a quote from Mrs. Herrera – ‘Fashion is to please your eye.’ If you start to intellectualize everything, it’s hard.”