Tommy Hilfiger defends Melania Trump: 'Any designer should be proud to dress her'

Fellow designer Sophie Thealett recently declared she would not dress the First Lady in waiting as the values of the Trump campaign did not match her own

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The Independent Online

Fashion has played an unusually significant role in the presidential election and has become a surprisingly key battle line in the rise of Donald Trump. This has been particularly pointed in regards to designers. 

Since the French fashion designer Sophie Theallet, who has dressed Michelle Obama, declared she would not under any condition be dressing Melania Trump, Tommy Hilfiger has hit back with an opposing view.

In an open letter, the independent fashion designer said the values and rhetoric of the Trump campaign did not tally with her own. In Theallet's own words: “As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next first lady.” 

“The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by," she continued.

While many fellow designers have kept shtum since her announcement, Tommy Hilfiger has now made his views known and it is crystal clear he does not agree.

“I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her,” Hilfiger told Women’s Wear Daily at the Angel Ball.

“Ivanka is equally as beautiful and smart, although she wears her own clothes. I don’t think people should become political about it. Everyone was very happy to dress Michelle [Obama] as well. I think they look great in the clothes. You’re not gonna get much more beautiful than Ivanka or Melania.”

Hilfiger’s words are likely to inspire currently quiet designers to come forward with their own views.

Fashion was a divisive issue in the already divisive election campaign. America has borne witness to a growing online campaign urging consumers to boycott Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line. It adopted the pithy hashtag Grab Your Wallet - a reference to the President-elect's now infamous “p***y-grabbing” comments. At the time Mr Trump apologised for his remarks in a 90-second long apology but continued to repeatedly describe the remarks as “locker room talk” when pressed during the second presidential debate.

While they have not directly cited #GrabYourWallet for their choices, have chosen to stop selling shoes from her collection and Bellacor, an American interior decor specialist, has stopped selling the Trump Home range of chandeliers and other home furnishings from its website.

A representative for Ms Trump did not respond to request for comment.