First daughter Ivanka Trump has fashioned herself as a lot of things in her lifetime — a runway model, a woman who works, and most recently, a member of her father's White House. On Friday, Ivanka tried her hand at interior decorating when her HQ shared advice for the upcoming holiday. Her efforts were widely criticized, however, and today the Internet is freaking out over the Thanksgiving centerpiece that Ivanka's company recommended.
The post published by the Ivanka Trump HQ starts off benign enough: titled "An Interior Decorator's Thanksgiving Tablescape," it features advice from Allison Domonoske of Alli Domo Interiors, an interior design business in Greenville, South Carolina. In the article, Domonoske — a stay-at-home mom who, as the article notes, was inspired to return to work after visiting the Ivanka HQ site — shares her tips for creating a "beautiful, bold and unexpected Thanksgiving tablescape."
In speaking about her interior decorating tips, Domonoske offers nuggets of advice like "be different" and "aim for affordable," recommending unique items such as off-color pumpkins and balloon-plant milkweed as table decorations, and offering budget-friendly recommendations, like napkins from World Market. But it was Domonoske's recommendation to "start with a timeless centerpiece" that drew ire from much of the Twittersphere.
The centerpiece in question was tweeted out by the Ivanka Trump HQ, but the degree to which it can be classified as "timeless" is up for debate. The main star of the centerpiece is a giant antique shell, which, as Domonoske notes in the post, is "everywhere right now in home décor." The clam is filled with a number of branches, twigs, and pumpkins, but the interior decorator notes that you can "switch out the pumpkins for another accent" when Christmas and Hanukkah roll around.
Whether or not the centerpiece was Ivanka Trump's fault, it quickly drew fierce criticism across the Internet. Elizabeth Spiers, a founding editor at Gawker, called the design accent a "mutant clam full of garbage," while Daniel Summers, a health columnist at Slate Outward coined it "Festive Driftwood Gourd Mollusk."
Choire Sicha, a style editor at the New York Times, joked at the absurdity of using a giant clam as the starting point for the centerpiece.
But it wasn't just the look of the centerpiece that drew ire. Some also took the opportunity to comment on the first daughter's politics, mocking some of the stances she has taken since first becoming involved in her father's political career. Writer James Birdsall tweeted that the heinous design was a result of the fact that none of the gay designers in New York will work for Ivanka, a likely reference to the fact that the daughter has been conspicuously silent on LGBTQ issues, even as her father's administration has taken steps to dismantle them.
And Navid Khazenei, the editor of the CUNY Law Review, joked that these are "just the aesthetics" for the rural voters the president has said he will fight for.
A contributor at The Onion also criticized the tone-deaf nature of the post, noting that it was "typical blind privilege" to assume most people would have the money — and time — to indulge in over-the-top holiday table settings.
There were, of course, a few Goop comparisons, referencing Gwyneth Paltrow's equally ostentatious lifestyle brand, which also often seems out of touch with everyday readers.
And some couldn't resist a McSweeney's reference, quoting the site's indelible essay on decorative gourd season.
It's hard to say if we really have Ivanka to blame for this clam shell centerpiece debacle — she handed over the HQ to new president Abigail Klem in January to avoid ethics conflicts. She still owns the company, however, and the hubbub made over her HQ's Thanksgiving tips — no matter how trivial — shows that the first daughter will likely have trouble separating her business from politics for the foreseeable future.