Will someone please dress Melania Trump? She looks like something out of The Only Way is Essex in those tight-fitting, mono-coloured dresses, matched with the plastic smile.
But the fashion industry will not intervene, for its members have discovered a moral conscience. Designers including Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Derek Lam have made known their extreme reluctance to deal with America’s future First Lady. ‘I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Trump and his supporters,’ said Jacobs. Separately, Lam stated that he would ‘rather concentrate [his] energies on efforts towards a more just, honourable and a mutually respectful world.’
Who knew these fashion leaders possessed a moral compass? I didn’t; in fact, I find all this moralising rather hypocritical – even if I fear Trump is about to tweet us into World War III – as the industry has never been a place for ethical enlightenment. It’s one of the most degrading sectors out there. It feasts upon the exploitation of the poor, and its leaders have arguably created more social divisions through their overpriced creations than the shunning of Melania could ever solve.
Fashion designers have far more in common with Trump than they dare to imagine. As well as being ruthless in business, they both share the unfortunate habit of treating women as a lesser species. I’ve lost count of the amount of sad, starved models I’ve seen parading on the catwalk. Year on year, nothing changes – apart from eating disorder statistics continuing to rise.
So it doesn’t cut it for designers to play the socially responsible card. Their avoidance of Melania suggests they actually care about the news and views of the models they dress. But it’s simply not true, in an industry where women are viewed as fleshy clothes hangers.
Luckily for the future First Lady, several fashionistas would like to dress her, including Jean-Paul Gaultier – who has said he would have no problem with the role. This might not win him any friends, but it will earn him a certain credibility. At least Gaultier knows what fashion is: shallow and materialistic.