While President Trump has made many a faux pas on the world stage this year, the same could be said for First Lady Melania Trump in the fashion and interior design sphere — and some of them even trump 2017’s Hurricane Harvey and Manolo Blahnik heels incident.
Here’s a round-up of her outfit choices that got everyone talking over the past 12 months:
Kenya Safari Outfit
FLOTUS’ getup during a solo trip to Kenya in October led to a lot of raised eyebrows, particularly her choice of pith helmet during an expedition in Kenya’s Nairobi National Park. The issue? It gave off imperialist vibes, harking back to the times when European military officials sported such outfits while commanding colonial armies in Africa.
She didn’t take the criticism lying down, telling reporters: “We just completed an amazing trip. We went to Ghana. We went to Malawi. We went to Kenya. Now here we are in Egypt. I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear. That’s very important — what I do, what we’re doing with USAID, my initiatives — and I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”
Amid the furor surrounding the emergence that the U.S. government was separating migrant parents and children, FLOTUS made the odd decision to visit a detention center in Texas in June sporting a khaki jacket from Zara with lettering on the back that read, “I really don’t care, do u?” It cost just $39 and it didn’t come from her stylist Hervé Pierre. At the time, he told WWD that he’d never seen it before.
Her communications director played the fashion choice down, stating that it was simply a jacket with no hidden message: “After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.”
Blood Red Christmas
It’s not just the first lady’s fashion choices that have been called into question — it’s also her interior design tastes. When she recently unveiled her White House Christmas decorations, she got a lot of flack for her color scheme, with many taking to social media to brandish it “blood red.” That was in reference to the red Christmas trees that line the East Colonnade.
Her office said the choice of red was an “extension of the pales, or stripes found in the presidential seal designed by our Founding Fathers” and therefore a symbol of “valor and bravery,” but that didn’t stop the trees becoming the content of dreams — or memes — for imaginative social media users. Among the many resulting memes was one that adorned the trees with white bonnets in the style of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” while another wrote that it looked like the holiday version of “The Shining.”