Ever since Donald Trump was elected as the next President of the United States, the biggest question among the fashion set has been who will step forward and dress Melania Trump? After all, it’s not everyday designers express their views on politics, let alone add a potential (and highly publicized) customer on a blacklist. Ahead of this Friday’s inauguration, two designers have been selected as the frontrunners for the unofficial post.

Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld are rumored to be preparing separate inauguration ensembles for the future First Lady, according to WWD. While the news outlet earlier reported that the American designer is believed to be working on a gown and a day outfit for Trump, it seems the responsibility has been split among the two fashion luminaries known for their very distinctive (and different) styles. We’ve reached out to the representatives of both brands and will update the post accordingly.

If accurate, Trump’s outfit combo will certainly be one for the books. As the master of all-American fashion, Ralph Lauren is a fitting (albeit ironic) choice for the First-Lady-to-be. Fitting because there is probably no other designer who could rival Lauren’s Americana aesthetic. The Bronx-born designer, who started his career as a tie salesman, has created a multi-billion dollar company thanks to his preppy yet luxurious, rugged romantic styles inspired by the American West. Trump has also worn the brand during the last leg of the campaign: a black jumpsuit for the third presidential debate and a white jumpsuit on election night, both of which she bought off the rack.

Melania Trump wearing Ralph Lauren on election night.

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And while Lauren has kept his political views private over the years, he was touted by the media as Hillary Clinton’s unofficial “dresser in chief” throughout her campaign. The designer famously made many of Clinton’s pantsuits for some of her major televised appearances, including her white Democratic National Convention suit and the purple and black concession suit.

As for Lagerfeld, the decision to enlist the German fashion designer is certainly a bold move on Trump’s part, though not surprising considering the incoming First Lady’s penchant for European labels (on the campaign trail, she favored the likes of Roksanda, Balmain, and Gucci). Lagerfeld currently works on three labels: Chanel, Fendi, and his eponymous brand. Though the brand he’s designing under remains unclear, Chanel is a likely choice as it would draw a comparison between Trump and her role model, Jackie Kennedy. In 1999, Trump told the New York Times that if her husband were ever elected president, she would be “very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy.” And considering Lagerfeld’s flair for the dramatics and his couture credentials, there’s a probable chance that he is working on the evening look for the big event.

Should both of these names turn down the opportunity, Trump certainly has other options. Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera, and Thom Browne (who designed Michelle Obama’s coat for her second inauguration ceremony) are among the designers who have have come forward to offer their services to the future First Lady (while others, like Tom Ford and Sophie Theallet, have taken the opposite stance).

One thing is for certain, the outfits Trump chooses to wear on Inauguration Day will decidedly mark a shift in the conversation about the industry’s future in the new administration.


More on fashion and politics:

  1. Michelle Obama Wore a Jason Wu Dress at the Presidential Farewell Address
  2. Michelle Obama’s Go-to Designer Is Refusing to Dress Melania Trump
  3. Tom Ford on Why He Wouldn’t Dress Melania Trump—and Hillary Clinton

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