Donald Trump hasn't even assumed office yet, but we already know his administration is going to be very different. This extends beyond the President-Elect himself, and to the First Lady. Since the election, designers have come forward to declare they will refuse to dress Melania Trump while she's in the White House, through open letters and daytime television interviews. It's become the will they/won't they question of the moment for the fashion industry, with a handful of designers, including Tommy Hilfiger and Carolina Herrera, explicitly saying they would dress the FLOTUS-to-be, should the opportunity presents itself. While American designers seem to be divided on Mrs. Trump, its European counterparts appear to be a bit more welcoming.
For a New Year's celebration at Trump's private club in Palm Beach, Florida, Trump wore a midi-length, jeweled-bow sleeveless dress from Dolce & Gabbana. Stefano Gabbana, one half of the creative duo that runs the Italian label, took to Instagram to share the look, as many designers do when a notable figure wears one of their garments. Melania Trump, however, is no ordinary public figure — and Gabbana's declaration of her being "#DGwoman" wasn't totally well-received.
Gabbana captioned the image, "Melania Trump #DGwoman ❤❤❤❤❤ thank you 🇺🇸#madeinitaly🇮🇹." Soon thereafter, the comments were flooded with both disappointment of this apparent endorsement and praise for standing up for someone so many have refused to dress.
"Disgusting," one commenter wrote. "Why brag about half of this awful couple wearing your clothes[?]" Many vowed to never shop Dolce & Gabbana again and to unfollow the designer on social media. Another disillusioned fan noted: "I thought you were a brand that represents class and poise."
Many accused the designer of supporting "fascist" ideas and further normalizing the Trumps by publicly thanking Melania for wearing the brand and declaring her a Dolce & Gabbana woman. Gabbana wasn't staying quiet, though. (The designer is no stranger to controversy, after all.) He quickly began responding to comments: "I like Melania," he wrote. "She's beautiful." To those saying they would be taking their business elsewhere, Gabbana simply dismissed it, writing: "[don't] buy anymore my fashion please," and "I [don't] need an ignorant customer."
The response to Gabbana's Instagram wasn't totally negative, though. "She's the First Lady, why shouldn't Stefano be proud of her wearing his designs[?]," one user wrote. "I am happy that you decided to dress her when everyone else is against [it]," another said. "It's a pretty dress on a pretty woman." Many noted that Gabbana's response was much nicer than Tom Ford's, who has refused to dress Trump in the past and said on a recent appearance on The View that he wouldn't dress a First Lady, anyway. Others defended the designer's characterization of Melania as a #DGwoman. "The [Dolce & Gabbana woman] is independent, [sensual], motherly and strong," one person noted. "But most of all, she is beautiful, not because of a husband or family but because of her alone. Melania is definitely a #DGwoman."
Gabbana joins Jean-Paul Gaultier as a designer who hasn't totally closed the door on seeing Trump in his designs. "I don't know who advises her or maybe it's herself, but if she asked me to dress her, why not?," the latter told the Press Association at the British Fashion Awards this year. "It's not my objective but why not?" Throughout the campaign trail, too, the Slovenian-born model wore a range of European labels, including Roksanda, Balmain, and, most infamously, Gucci. Traditionally, the First Lady fills her official wardrobe with American designers (and, in the case of Michelle Obama, many emerging names in the industry) — but this might play out differently during the Trump administration.
The subject of whether or not the Italian designer would dress Mrs. Trump at an official capacity in the White House wasn't addressed. But from the looks of it, it's not out of the realm of possibility.
We've reached out to Dolce & Gabbana for comment, and will update our story when we hear back.