(By Emily Heil, Washington Post)

First lady Melania Trump’s approach to sartorially honouring her hosts during her visit to the United Kingdom has been about as subtle as Dick Van Dyke’s British accent in “Mary Poppins.”

Her fashion choices for the across-the-pond jaunt are making headlines for being literal homages to icons of British culture.

Trump started off the trip by boarding Air Force One in a Gucci shirtdress whose fabric carried an overtly diplomatic message about the importance of our “special relationship” with the Brits: It included images of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and even London’s famous double-decker buses.

Dressing for the world stage

Trump’s overseas wardrobe, which isn’t so much coded as it is statement-making, fits with her typical on-the-nose strategy for dressing for the world stage. For a 2017 state dinner hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, she donned a Gucci dress inspired by the traditional Chinese cheongsam style.

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And on her solo trip to Africa last year, her outfits included a pants-and-jacket ensemble that made her look, as the New York Times described it, “like a character straight from ‘Out of Africa‘ crossed with Belloq, the nefarious Frenchman from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.’ ”

PICS: The Trumps arrive at Buckingham Palace, meet the Queen

 

Clothing can convey a message

Trump, a former fashion model, clearly understands the power of clothing to communicate a message. As Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan described it, “the first lady sometimes appears to be dressing for a fashion-shoot version of the event – a kind of heightened reality of an already rather surreal circumstance.”

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, centre poses for a photo with US President Donald Trump, left and first lady Melania Trump ahead of the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 3, 2019. Trump is on a three-day state visit to Britain. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

 

Another case in point: The patriotically themed ensemble she wore for this week’s arrival in the U.K. – a blouse from classic British brand Burberry featuring images of military medals and the word “society” paired with a navy suit from quintessentially American designer Michael Kors. (Get it? Brits and Americans are meeting! They get along so well together!)

 

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2019 (Xinhua) — U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on April 24, 2019. (Xinhua/Ting Shen/IANS)

And of course there would be a Princess Di moment

For lunch at Buckingham Palace with the queen, Trump’s ensemble – a white Dolce & Gabbana skirt suit with a navy collar and belt, topped off with a white hat with a navy band – drew immediate comparisons to similar looks previously worn by two fashion-forward royals, Princess Diana and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. (Some also likened it to the black and white costume that Audrey Hepburn’s character Eliza Doolittle wore to the Ascot races in “My Fair Lady.”)

White hats

And since we’re talking about clothing clues delivered in the most literal way possible, can we discuss the first lady’s penchant for white hats at key diplomatic events? The chapeau she wore this week to meet the queen (designed by her frequent go-to designer, Hervé Pierre) brings to mind a few other memorable headgear moments.

First lady Melania Trump, left, and Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, pause for a photograph together as they tour the National Gallery of Art, Tuesday April 24, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

 

Last year, she wore a broad-brimmed Pierre creation to greet French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, for their state visit. And one of her most controversial looks was the time she donned a pith helmet, considered a relic of colonialism, while on safari in Kenya.

 

Could be that Trump is trying to visually signal that she’s one of the good guys? The answer, like so much about the first lady’s wardrobe, seems pretty black and white.

Take a look at more images of Melania Trump’s fashion choices below:

First lady Melania Trump, left, stands as Queen Elizabeth II smiles while talking with President Donald Trump at Buckingham Palace, Monday, June 3, 2019, in London. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

 

U.S. first lady Melania Trump, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s wife Akie Abe look at koi carps in a pond at the Japanese style annex inside the State Guest House in Tokyo Monday, May 27, 2019. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool Photo via AP)

 

First lady Melania Trump holds a baby as she visits Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. The first lady is visiting Africa on her first big solo international trip, aiming to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 

 

Celebs slam Melania Trump for wearing ‘offensive jacket’ to visit detained migrant kids

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, MD – JUNE 21: U.S. first lady Melania Trump (C) climbs back into her motorcade after traveling to Texas to visit facilities that house and care for children taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border June 21, 2018 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. The first lady is traveling to Texas to see first hand the condition and treatment that children taken from their families at the border were receiving from the federal government. Following public outcry and criticism from members of his own party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to stop the separation of migrant children from their families, a practice the administration employed to deter illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

First lady Melania Trump pauses as a ballerina performs a piece from The Nutcracker behind her among the 2017 holiday decorations in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. The First Lady honored 200 years of holiday traditions at the White House. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 

President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and their son and Barron Trump walk from Marine One across the South Lawn to the White House in Washington, Sunday, June 11, 2017, as they return from Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

 

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 09: Barron Trump and his mother Melania Trump stand on stage after Republican president-elect Donald Trump delivered his acceptance speech at the New York Hilton Midtown in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016 in New York City. Donald Trump defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

 

 

 

Author: ANA Newswire