Melania Trump has kept a pretty low-key profile as first lady, but this week's premiere state dinner marked a major departure for the FLOTUS. Melania Trump's state dinner dress, as well as her daytime ensemble, were made by French designers, ostensibly to honor France's president, Emmanuel Macron.
It's safe to assume Melania chose her outfits with great care, considering the meticulous planning she put in to craft the decor and menu of the state dinner itself. According to CNN, Melania "thoughtfully and carefully" looked over "every last detail" of Tuesday's event, sans input from an outside consultant or event planner.
And the resulting presentation has earned the first lady widespread praise. The Washington Post headlined Melania Trump "finally seems at ease." A CNN headline read "Melania masters the moment."
Melania's attire earned accolades as well. The white hat she wore when greeting the Macrons on the South Lawn of the White House at the welcome ceremony was fawned over (though people also wondered if she was channeling Olivia Pope from Scandal). The hat was designed by French-American designer Hervé Pierre, and when paired with her white Michael Kors skirt suit, completed a sleek daytime ensemble for the first lady.
And Melania chose another French designer for the dinner itself — Chanel. As ENews put it, the FLOTUS "paid tribute to the City of Light" in her shimmering floor-length couture gown by the renown French fashion house.
There were some notable differences between the Trumps' and the previous first couple's take on a state dinner. For one, there were fewer guests at Tuesday's event compared with similar dinners thrown by the Obamas. Another deviation: The Trumps did not invite any Democrats, in contrast with other former presidents, most of whom regularly included members of the opposition party on their state dinner guest list.
But if the smaller venue and lack of political diversity bothered Macron, he didn't show it. Instead, the French president and Trump traded effusive compliments about the "unbreakable friendship" (Macron's words) between their respective countries. For his part, Trump toasted to the hope their "kinship" might "grow even stronger," according to the Washington Post.
With little to offer in the way of celebrities — apart from two gold-medal winning Olympians who attended Tuesday's dinner — the impact of the first family's fashion choices was perhaps destined to be even more pronounced.
Ivanka Trump stopped for photos with husband and White House adviser Jared Kushner. The first daughter wore a polka-dotted gown with multiple layers of cascading ruffles. Unlike the first lady, Ivanka opted for an American designer — Rodarte.
Apart from the first family and other high-profile D.C. Republicans (Vice President Mike Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan, etc.), the biggest names at the Trump's state dinner came from the business world. Apple CEO Tim Cook was seated at the same table as the Trumps and Macrons. Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch — owner of Fox News and several other outlets — also topped the Trump's guest list of industry leaders.
Cook is set to be back at the White House on Wednesday, as he and Trump are meeting to reportedly discuss trade. As CNBC reports, tensions around the issue of international trade are running high, particularly between the United States and China. And that's a problem for Apple's bottom line, as the company sees China as a market ripe with potential. From a business perspective, Cook's attendance at Tuesday's state dinner makes a lot of sense.
But most outlets seem to concur that the real star of Tuesday night's state dinner was the first lady, with solid fashion assists from two flawless French designer ensembles.