May 11, 2021

From Melania Trump to American nightmares – what caused a stir at New York fashion week?

The first lady wasn’t at the shows, but she chose to wear Raf Simons – beloved by the liberal elite – during NYFW. But even if she wasn’t making a political statement, plenty of designers were

The most head-scratching moment of New York fashion week was not part of the official schedule. It happened more than 200 miles away from the catwalks, in fact, in Washington DC, when Melania Trump disembarked from Marine One on Sunday wearing a red Calvin Klein shirt with beige epaulettes and a sharply pointed collar.

This was a strange occurrence, for anyone who knows their fashion references, because Trump’s shirt was recognisably part of Belgian designer Raf Simons‘s first collection for Calvin Klein. Simons is the sort of brainy, arty designer beloved by the “liberal elite” that the president professes to hate. His take on the US megabrand has mined the tropes of Americana – prairie quilts, cowboy boots, the star-spangled banner – in what has been interpreted by critics as an attempt to reclaim the American dream from the political right.

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