Society

Melania Welcomes Chinese President With A Dash Of Red (Photo)

| by Denise Recalde

Those in the fashion world are taking note of first lady Melania Trump's clothing choices as she increasingly engages with world leaders alongside President Donald Trump. 

On April 6, the president and first lady welcomed their counterparts from China -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan -- for a formal dinner at Mar-a-Lago, the Trumps' home in Palm Beach, Florida. 

Melania wore a sleeveless red midi dress in crepe with a daisy applique by Valentino for her first official hosting event, reports People magazine. The dress costs approximately $4,000.

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Fashion experts interpreted the color of the dress as a nod to China, a nation that embraces the color and considers it a symbolic color of good luck and celebration.

Other commenters could not help comparing Melania's fashion choices with those of her predecessor, Michelle Obama. 

First lady fashion is a tough trick to pull off, as only few former ladies in the White House have been able to successfully use their fashion choices to express grace and charm but also power, and diplomatic adroit and courtesy. 

As noted by People, "fashion can be utilized as a powerful platform for a first lady, specifically to make points without having to say a single word."

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Obama scored major points with fashion industry connoisseurs for choosing outfits made by designers who represented both the guest country and the U.S. 

First lady fashion is a learning process, experts say. In 2011, Obama was critiqued for wearing an outfit from British designer Alexander McQueen to an official event welcoming then-Chinese President Hu Jintao. But by September 2015, she was wearing a custom black mermaid gown made by Vera Wang, the U.S.-born daughter of Chinese immigrants to a State Dinner hosted by China. 

As she grew into her role, Obama began wearing outfits created by talented and highly regarded designers of the guest countries she was visiting. 

These included Japan (native Japanese designer Tadashi Shoji), South Korea (American-Korean designer Doo-Ri Chung), India (Indian-American designer Naeem Khan) and Italy (Italian-born designer Donatello Versace). 

In a Harper's Bazaar interview in October 2016, the stylist of the then-exiting first lady, Meredith Koop, stated Obama always took care to take into account a "country's cultural norms" in a bid to "pay tribute."

In recounting her years of working with Obama, Koop described what their joint strategy was for selecting designs to wear to state visits to other countries.

"We always [took] into account where we [were] going and that country's cultural norms," Koop said. "The goal is to pay tribute to each place we visit [while] never losing the spirit of the United States." 

Sources: People, Harper's Bazaar / Photo credit: FLOTUS/Twitter, Alex Brandon/AP via Chicago Tribune

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