May 27, 2017

"If anything seemed to unite the sartorial choices the first lady made, at least during the day, it was a certain rigidity of line, monochrome palette and militaristic mien."

"She favored sharp power shoulders, single-breasted jackets with wide cinched belts and big square buckles, straight skirts and a lot of buttons. Mostly buttoned up.... For what battle, exactly, is she preparing? Theories have been floated: her husband’s critics; the prying eyes of the outside world; even her own marriage. Maybe it’s the much vaunted revolution the president was fond of saying he led; maybe she, too, is fighting for his agenda. Or maybe it’s just a signal that she is prepared to take her place on the home front."

That's from "Melania Trump on Display, Dressed in Ambivalence and Armor," by Vanessa Friedman in the NYT, trying to understand why Melania Trump wore what she wore on the big foreign trip. (Nice 14-photo slide show at the link.)

By the way, was Trump fond of saying he led a "revolution"? I blogged the whole campaign, meticulously inspecting the rhetoric, and when I search my archive for Trump and revolution, all the references I see to revolution are connected to Bernie Sanders, except where I myself am saying but isn't what Trump is doing a revolution? And I see that when Trump won the New Hampshire primary, he walked out on stage to the tune of "Revolution."

Googling, I see that Trump used the word "revolution" right after the 2012 election. He tweeted: "He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!" But I don't think "revolution" was his word in 2016.

Please correct me if I'm missing references to "revolution" by Trump in 2016, but I think "the much vaunted revolution the president was fond of saying he led" is off.

As for Friedman's opinion of Melania, it reminded me of Robin Givhan's piece the other day, saying that Melania was dressed for "control and containment." Givhan didn't say "armor," but I used the word in my reaction to Givhan:
I'm not sure where the "control and containment" is supposed to be — maybe in the constricting leather skirt or maybe it's something she's extracting from the President who scampers at her heel — but from the waist up, I'm seeing a more freewheeling style, an eschewing of a fully controlled structure. I'm not criticizing this choice, I'm just saying this isn't the Jackie Kennedy choice of clothing as armor, but a stretchy sweater over something less than the most rigid undergarments. I see an amusing combo of loose and tight.
I was talking about one particular outfit, which you can see at that last link. Friedman, as noted above, has 14 photos of things Melania wore. Some of them indeed have a squared-off look with tight cinching that could be called rigid and militaristic, but other things were loose and flowing, including and especially #5, which was worn during the day. I guess whatever isn't "armor" gets tossed into the "ambivalence" pile, especially that $51,000 flower-encrusted coat she's wearing over her shoulders in photo 14.


EDH said...

When it comes to Trump, the press and punditry are like Charles Manson and his followers listening to the White Album.

Michael McClain said...

I thought she looked great. All of the outfits I saw were conservative in cut and color and suited the serious mood of the trip. She didn't dress as if she going to a car wash as a previous not-to-be-named First Lady so frequently did.

Haters gonna hate.

rhhardin said...

I dress for single color washing machine loads.

The iron in the well water is bad enough. I don't need color bleeding too.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

I suspect the real purpose of the piece is to let rich lefties know which designers to boycott. I recall a bunch of designers announcing they would refuse to dress Mrs. Trump. D&G rags will now be non-grata when millionaire and billionaire Democrats gather to discuss how much they need to pass universal healthcare so the poor illegal immigrants that they pay slave wages to watch their babies and mow their lawns can remain healthy enough to work.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

She looked fantastic, if severe. I kept looking at how soft and approachable Queen Mathilde appeared in her casual floral gown next to her.

Fun Fact: Your friend Pants attended the American International School in Riyadh many years ago. It was named the Saudi Arabian International School then, though. No visit from Barbara Bush for me, though :(

And lol at: Some critics wondered why the first lady chose to cover her head at the Vatican but not in Saudi Arabia, where most Muslim women wear headscarves.

Anything for a cheap dig.

Caroline Walker said...

MElania was MAGA incarnate. Maybe Elegance will make a comeback.

Bay Area Guy said...

Stupid article. Melania is sufficiently hot to wear anything.

One important point raised by Althouse (not the idiotic NYT):

...all the references I see to revolution are connected to Bernie Sanders, except where I myself am saying but isn't what Trump is doing a revolution?

I would frame it this way. Yes, Bernie and the Left, in general, want a revolution. The don't accept the US as presently constituted. They think it's a rigged capitalist game run by Christian white males at the expense of the poor and the minorities.

Since Bernie is from Vermont (97% white), he has not focused on the race angle, but emphasized the class angle.

And, since the 60s, the Left has, in fact, made headway in achieving their goals on remaking America. Culturally, they have won on abortion, gay marriage and immigration. Economically, they have also won on expanding the size of the all-powerful government.

Where they have lost (thankfully), is on wealth creation. The innovation that capitalism breeds by men like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, means we all get to buy computers and IPhones, make those guys billionaires, but, in the process, create massive amounts of wealth (and jobs).

There are 200 Million or so people in the American Middle Class who own homes, cars, stocks, and now computers and IPads. While some still vote Dem, they also de facto live Republican lives. Subconsciously, they understood that if the Left wins, their towns and Iives veer closer to Detroit or Baltimore or Oakland or South -Side Chicago status, and they want no part of that. That's why they moved to the suburbs in the first place.

So, I would say, Yes, the Left wants a revolution to move us steadily closer to the atheist, socialist, biracial, bisexual paradigm they seek, but Trump is blocking this, and in some important ways trying to roll it back. The Left is for revolution, Trump is for restoration.

Otto said...

I was there for Jackie. Gentlemen she can't hold a candle to this FFloltus-looks and IQ.

readering said...

Can't believe she allowed her husband to wear dark 2 piece suit for every appearance.

Portlandmermaid said...

Isn't the point that headscarves are optional in Saudia Arabia and required in the Vatican?

She looked nonstop elegant in clothing that switched from cinched to flowing, from covered up to slightly revealing. She comes across as a pleasant, somewhat shy woman who lets people come to her instead of grabbing at them.

Darrell said...

Trump said Hillary was revolting. Close enough.

Fen said...

Arent these tbe same hacks that attacked Kathleen Harris during the 2000 recount for "using a trowel" to apply her make up (see Noonan, The Greenwood Position ).

I miss all the fashion articles pretending that Michelle Obama doesn't look like an ape in sack cloth. But not really.

William said...

There's no doubt that she dresses well and makes a striking appearance. Just accept the fact that we are burdened with a good looking, well dressed First Lady. Trump is overweight, and his ties are too long. Concentrate on that.

ELC said...

Concluding sentence of the linked 2012 article: "If they’re smart (a big if), Republicans will throw Trump and his brand of politics overboard."


Biff said...

"I guess whatever isn't 'armor' gets tossed into the 'ambivalence' pile"

With the NYT, it's about the narrative, not the facts, and it has been that way for many years.

Michael K said...

"Can't believe she allowed her husband to wear dark 2 piece suit for every appearance."

Rompers would have been so much more "Esquire."

Ritmo accused me of wanting a revolution a couple of months ago and search my blog for an example. That was when I used to read his comments.

I think a lot of people wanted a revolution and Trump was as close as they could get for now. If he gets successfully blocked, they might go farther that way.

urbane legend said...

What Michael McClain said.

Sebastian said...

"other things were loose and flowing" True.

But the left keeps having to produce alternative facts. In this case, the good looks and even better taste of Mrs. Trump must be deconstructed and derided, since any compliment of anyone close to Trump reflects well on him. Of course, the obvious contrast with the previous FLOTUS raises the stakes and calls for further attack. "Who you gonna believe, prog commentary or your lying eyes?"

David said...

Who do you notice first in all these group photos?

Why, it's Melania. Battle won.

hombre said...

Fashion reviewers aren't used to a "FLOTUS" who dresses like a grownup and has no need to conceal body flaws.