Sophie Theallet is one of Michelle Obama’s favourite designers, who built a highly successful brand on the back of this collaboration. But in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, she’s released a strongly worded statement of intent. She won’t be dressing the new first lady, Melania – and she’s urging other designers to make the same pledge.
Theallet herself was born in France, and said that, as an immigrant, she condemned “the rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia” coming from the Trump campaign. The statement continues, “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady.”
The 2016 election was pretty unprecedented in the way it galvanised the fashion community. Supreme and Vogue broke ranks with tradition and endorsed a political candidate for the first time in their history. Hillary Clinton also received endorsements from Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung, Tory Burch and Vera Wang.
Some in the fashion industry are clearly much more open to working with the Melania. Another Michelle Obama favourite, Bibhu Mohapatra, recently said, “I am totally opposite of (Melania’s) husband’s politics, but if the opportunity came to me I would consider it.” Jeremy Scott, the creative director at Moschino, told Vanity Fair he was willing to extend an olive branch. Scott said Melania “looks good in clothes. She wears them well, she’s got a good figure.”
“Integrity is our only true currency,” Theallet’s statement concludes, rejecting the lucrative commercial opportunity of dressing the Flotus. It remains to be seen whether other designers will follow suit.
Read Theallet’s full letter below.