The TRUMP card

Fash­ion and power are win­ning hands for Ivanka, writes Anna Cald­well

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - NEWS -

I vanka Trump is poised to be­come one of the world’s most pow­er­ful fash­ion icons as she tran­si­tions from savvy busi­ness­woman to Amer­ica’s new first daugh­ter, all while clev­erly build­ing her own brand em­pire.

The el­dest daugh­ter of Amer­ica’s pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, Ivanka is set to be­come the United States’ an­swer to Kate Mid­dle­ton, the Duchess of Cam­bridge — a fawned-over style-set­ter en­sconced in one of the world’s most pow­er­ful fam­i­lies.

But the key dif­fer­ence is this — as the fas­ci­na­tion swirls around her, Trump will be build­ing the power and reach of her own epony­mous fash­ion la­bel.

With an es­ti­mated net worth of $US150 mil­lion, she has spent al­most 10 years build­ing her fash­ion em­pire. Her prod­ucts are stocked at 800 re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing mass-mar­ket play­ers like Macy’s, Nord­strom, Bloom­ing­dales, Neiman Mar­cus and Ama­zon.

The Los An­ge­les Times re­ported this year that the Ivanka Trump fash­ion la­bel got a boost — es­pe­cially in the dress cat­e­gory — when­ever the young Trump stepped into the lime­light on the cam­paign trail for her father.

It’s an ef­fect that will only be mag­ni­fied in her ca­pac­ity as first daugh­ter, with her ex­po­sure to ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans boosted. Trump — who has al­ready been ac­cused of us­ing her father’s pol­i­tics to ad­van­tage her com­pany — in­sists she’s tried to keep her fash­ion la­bel sep­a­rate from the cam­paign, but has deftly used so­cial me­dia to pro­mote what she’s wear­ing.

“My brand was launched far be­fore the pres­i­den­tial cycle com­menced and will con­tinue long af­ter­wards,” she told For­tune’s Most Pow­er­ful Women con­fer­ence this year.

“I’ve al­ways tried to main­tain com­plete sep­a­ra­tion be­tween that and the cam­paign.” At odds with this re­mark, this week Trump used an ap­pear­ance on her father’s 60 Min­utes in­ter­view to sell her jew­ellery line. Af­ter wear­ing one of her la­bel’s bracelets on cam­era, her com­pany sent a “style alert” email to fash­ion jour­nal­ists de­tail­ing how to buy the $US10,800 piece. Sim­i­larly, on the night of her speech in­tro­duc­ing her father at the Repub­li­can National Con­ven­tion in July, she took to Twit­ter to pro­mote the pink sheath dress she wore. “Shop Ivanka’s look from her RNC speech,” the tweet said, link­ing to the $138 dress on the Macy’s web­site. It sold out swiftly.

Her brand rev­enue was up by $US11.8 mil­lion in the first six months of 2016 com­pared with the same pe­riod in 2015.

At one point in the elec­tion cam­paign, Clin­ton sup­port­ers launched an on­line push for women to boy­cott the Trump la­bel in stores, but it is un­clear if this had any im­pact. Ms Trump was un­fazed.

“The beauty of Amer­ica is that peo­ple can do what they like,” she told Amer­ica’s ABC. “But I pre­fer to talk to the mil­lions, tens of mil­lions of Amer­i­can women who are in­spired by the brand and the mes­sage that I’ve cre­ated.”

The Trump chil­dren have cap­tured the at­ten­tion of Amer­ica with their good looks, elo­quence and busi­ness smarts, but none more so than Ivanka.

She has al­ways been the most vis­i­ble child of the Trump fam­ily, mod­el­ling in mag­a­zines and for fash­ion la­bels since she was just 16.

The 35-year-old is a model and fi­nance grad­u­ate who has built her own suc­cess­ful com­pany and is now poised to take stew­ard­ship of her father’s in­ter­na­tional busi­ness em­pire while he is in of­fice.

She’ll also act as a close con­fi­dante of her father, to the ex­tent that some have la­belled her a de facto first lady, as he looks to her for ad­vice on fam­ily is­sues and work­place equal­ity. It’s this con­ver­gence of power plays that will make her one of the most sought-af­ter and ob­sessed-over fash­ion fig­ures in the world.

Ivanka Trumprump an­dand (inset)inset)( inset) Kate Mid­dle­ton. Picture: MRR Pho­toPhoto//Cor­bis//Corb Getty Images

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