First Lady Melania Trump may only be spending 36 hours in Paris, but she packed to make a lasting impression.
Trump stepped off Air Force One early Thursday morning in a more modern version of the Christian Dior Bar suit. Far from just a red jacket with a red skirt, the ensemble was given a good deal of thought by FLOTUS and her stylist, Hervé Pierre, who also designed her inaugural gown.
The pair wanted to pay homage to Dior’s 70th anniversary and the “Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve” retrospective at Les Arts Décoratifs. For the First Lady of the United States’ arrival in Paris for her first state visit, Dior was the only logical choice, Pierre said. “Dior is attached to France forever. It is a name that is part of the vocabulary.”
As a French-born designer who earned his American citizenship last August, Pierre said he was particularly moved in helping to plan the wardrobe for this trip. Pierre himself won the Christian Dior award from the Comité Colbert in 1987. The cinched waist of the striking wool suit was meant to accentuate the First Lady’s trim waistline.
Melania Trump headed straight to the Necker children’s hospital where she met with officials and a group of children. The President and First Lady proceeded to the U.S. embassy, where they were joined by members of the U.S. military and their families in a ceremony to mark 100 years since the U.S. joined World War One.
They were then greeted at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, who was wearing a Space Age-style white zippered Louis Vuitton dress with the label’s Capucines handbag and shoes.
While the two leaders repaired to the Elysée presidential palace for talks on topics including Syria, Iraq and counter-terrorism, the first ladies visited Notre-Dame Cathedral before taking a short boat ride on the Seine river.
They were expected to attend a dinner with their respective husbands at chef Alain Ducasse’s Michelin-starred restaurant Le Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower.
The Bastille Day celebration will start Friday with a parade down the Champs-Elysées to celebrate America’s entry into the First World War alongside French troops.
“My job is to make this woman look beautiful and she’s representing the country,” Pierre said. “For me, it’s about this legacy of this woman. A lot of people have good taste in fashion and it is very easy to find a nice pair of shoes to go with a dress.”
After first meeting at the G7 in Brussels in late May and reconnecting at last week’s G20 in Hamburg, the two first ladies have been photographed a few times chatting animatedly. In Belgium, Trump wore a customized belted leather suit from Belgian label Maison Ullens and in Germany, a Jil Sander dress was one of her wardrobe choices.
“I always try to find something that has a little meaning without being too intellectual. We speak about everything. It is a nice conversation and it’s positive. I am always trying to find something that respects the protocol, the religion or the country that she is visiting,” Pierre said.
“The clothes are important, but not only to be pretty like a doll or something. The packaging is very important. You don’t put Chanel No. 5 in a bottle of Clorox,” he added.
Trump’s and Pierre’s research is “as fascinating” as the articles of clothing that they decide upon, he said. “Immediately the photos are all over the Internet. And people judge. It kills me sometimes when I think, ‘Ugh, they didn’t see that, and maybe they’re right,’” referring to the well-thought-out subtleties of their selections.
As for his alliance with Trump, Pierre said, “I love to do this. The ironic part is I am not a stylist at all. I am a true designer with a couturier. I’m almost more technical.”
He added, “She doesn’t even look at her cell phone when we’re together.”
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