When Melania Trump Met Michelle Obama, Their Clothes Did Some of the Talking
So the reconciliation continues. Kind of.
Whatever their feelings about Donald J. Trump winning the presidential election, President Obama and the first lady have been careful to demonstrate that it is time “to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face,” as Mr. Obama said when he met the president-elect at the White House on Thursday.
Hillary Clinton began the messaging when she wore a purple-lapel Ralph Lauren pantsuit for her concession speech on Wednesday morning, uniting red and blue in a single shade as she urged the country to unite. And Michelle Obama continued the subliminal signals when she chose a purple Narciso Rodriguez dress with an orange aftershock sunburst curve for her meeting with Melania Trump.
希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)上周三上午就开始传达这一信息，当时她穿着一套拉夫·劳伦(Ralph Lauren)紫色翻领裤装发表自己的败选演说，敦促美国团结一致，将红蓝阵营团结在一起。米歇尔·奥巴马(Michelle Obama)继续释放这种潜意识的信号，选择了一件带橘色余波辐射曲线的紫色纳西索·罗德里格斯(Narciso Rodriguez)裙子与梅拉尼娅·特朗普(Melania Trump)会面。
It was a nice bit of color diplomacy.
But it also wasn’t without implicit references to Mr. Obama’s administration and legacy. After all, it was the second time she wore Mr. Rodriguez this week, the first time being for her final speech for Mrs. Clinton in Philadelphia, delivered in a navy coat by the designer.
Mr. Rodriguez is, as it happens, Cuban-American, the son of immigrants and a classic American success story. He is currently the subject of a retrospective at the Frost Art Museum in Miami, chosen in part, the curator told The New York Times, because “It is very important to incorporate the accomplishments of Latin American artists, architects and designers into the canon of history.”
罗德里格斯碰巧是古巴裔美国人、移民的后代，也是一个典型的美国成功故事。迈阿密的弗罗斯特艺术博物馆(Frost Art Museum)目前正在展出以他为主题的设计回顾展。该展览的策展人告诉《纽约时报》，之所以选择他，部分原因在于，“将拉丁裔美国艺术家、建筑师和设计师的成就纳入历史正统，是很重要的。”
Mr. Rodriguez was also the designer of the black and red dress that Mrs. Obama wore when her husband gave his victory speech in Chicago in 2008.
Something of a contrast was, not surprisingly, provided by Mrs. Trump. For the visit to Washington on Thursday, she wore a streamlined sleeveless black sheath dress, a matching coat and Christian Louboutin heels. Thus far, as was the case throughout the campaign, no brand has issued the traditional news release about Mrs. Trump wearing its designs, most likely because she buys her clothes herself, rather than working through a stylist or brand. (The shoes were recognizable because of the brand’s signature red soles).
Whether that will change when she is in the White House remains to be seen. In the meantime, the fact she wore black instead of her usual white or pastel shades has got some people riled up. (“Melania Trump wore a funereal black dress to the White House,” Yahoo News cried.)
Personally, I think it’s too early to judge whether Mrs. Trump thinks about her clothes in communications terms, so I’m going to hold off on reading too much into the shade. Rather, I’d say she looked polished and professional, and as if she wasn’t trying to call attention to herself, though that is kind of unavoidable.
Indeed, as Mrs. Obama showed over the past eight years — and reiterated on Thursday — a wardrobe can be a powerful platform for a first lady, making points without her having to say a word. Given Mrs. Trump’s reported antipathy for public performance, it might serve her very well as she assumes her new role.