After the brutal loss of the New York Times’ presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, they published a mea culpa to Americans who no longer find their propaganda piece worth reading. New York Times promised to rededicate themselves to honest and unbiased journalism: As we reflect on the momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it, we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly, without fear or favor, striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives and life experiences in the stories that we bring to you. Almost simultaneously, NYT’s Fashion Director Vanessa Friedman wrote an article suggesting that fashion icon “pantsuits” Hillary’s election loss will likely cause fashion designers to abandon Washington. Uhhh…we beg to differ. We’re gonna go out on a limb and predict that fashion designers around the world will be clamoring to dress our new First Lady who could easily be mistaken for a supermodel…
On Wednesday, when Hillary Clinton stood in the New Yorker Hotel for her farewell speech, she did so in one of her signature Ralph Lauren pantsuits. Dark gray, with purple lapels and a matching purple shirt (and a matching purple tie for Bill Clinton), it underscored, as so many of her fashion choices did in the run-up to the election, a point: the way two colors/factions — red and blue — can unite to make something new.
But it also symbolized, perhaps, the end of what might have been an extraordinary relationship. And possibly the end of fashion’s seat at the power table.
More than any other industry, fashion had pledged its troth to Mrs. Clinton. Vogue magazine formally endorsed her, the first time it had taken a public stand in a presidential election. The W magazine editor, Stefano Tonchi, declared his allegiance in an editor’s letter.
At the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards last Monday night, the traditional potpies were dusted with paprika letters urging “vote” and festooned with little paper “Hillary for America” flags (in case anyone was wondering for whom). Ralph Lauren became Mrs. Clinton’s de facto sartorial consiglieri, helping her shape her image from the Democratic National Convention to the debate floor.
It was to be the culmination of a relationship that began with Mrs. Clinton’s appearance on the cover of Vogue in December 1998, the first time that a first lady had done so.
The relationship gained momentum through the Obama administration, with Michelle Obama’s embrace of the fashion world writ large, from accessible brands such as J. Crew to young designers such as Jason Wu and Christian Siriano and established names like Michael Kors and Vera Wang. (Mrs. Obama also appeared on the cover of Vogue, in March 2009 and April 2013, and she will also appear, for the third time, in the December 2016 issue.)
It was striking that on election night, for example, while Melania Trump also wore Ralph Lauren (a white jumpsuit), the outfit was, according to the brand, one she had bought off the rack, as opposed to one that she had worked with the designer to create.
Indeed, all the clothes she wore on the campaign trail seem to have been part of a shopping spree, as opposed to a strategic plan. There’s nothing wrong with that. Arguably it is part of what makes a woman who lives in a gilded penthouse seem more normal (she buys, just like everyone else!) But it reflects her distance from the industry.
The first great test of both sides will be the inauguration: a time when the eyes of the world will be on the first family and what they wear — and if, especially for those family members who do not speak, there is more to the clothes than just, well, clothes.
Not one designer contacted said they would not dress Mrs. Trump if she asked, though Ms. von Furstenberg noted that Mrs. Trump may not need anyone’s help. “I’m sure she knows what to do,” she said, given that Mrs. Trump is a former model.
Mr. Altuzarra, who pointed out that Ivanka Trump has worn his clothes, got a little tangled up in his negatives but said, “I don’t want to not dress people I disagree with.”
For entire story: NYT’s