As the first lady of the United States, Melania Trump’s sartorial choices often find a place under the spotlight. From her Manolo Blahnik stilettos on a trip to hurricane-wrecked Houston to the “I really don’t care. Do U?” text on the back of her Zara jacket worn to visit detained immigrant children, the first lady’s style statements have often invited criticism — and her latest look is no exception.
Trump’s first solo trip to Africa was followed by comments critical of an outfit she wore during an expedition in Kenya’s Nairobi National Park on Friday: a safari suit paired with a pith helmet — a notorious accessory that has become synonymous with imperialism, thanks to a history of European military officials and explorers wearing it to hot climates during the 19th and 20th centuries.
In response, Trump told reporters the following day, “You know what? 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.”
Prior to this trip, Trump had been scrutinized for several fashion moments, among them a Gucci pussy-bow blouse worn at her husband’s presidential debate (following revelations of his misogynistic comments in a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape) and a white Dior pantsuit (a favorite silhouette of his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election campaign) worn at President Donald Trump’s inaugural State of the Union address.
Over the weekend in Egypt, the first lady opted for a khaki Ralph Lauren jacket, coordinating cream wide-leg pants and a white Chanel blouse that many on the internet compared to a look straight from a Nazi-sympathizing villain in the 1981 Indiana Jones film, “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
Following the first lady’s public outing in the controversial Zara jacket, Trump’s director of communications, Stephanie Grisham, echoed her statements. “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message,” Grisham said in a statement. “After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.”
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