Fash­ion gi­ant re­fuses to dress First Lady

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

There’s no doubt which side the fash­ion world sup­ported dur­ing the US pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

For years, First Lady Michelle Obama and Democrats’ van­quished pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton have been fa­vorites with fash­ion de­sign­ers who dressed them in clothes aimed at evok­ing their values.

But New York-based French de­signer So­phie Theallet has gone a step fur­ther, throw­ing down the gaunt­let by re­fus­ing to dress fu­ture first lady Me­la­nia Trump be­cause of the po­lit­i­cal views of her hus­band, Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump. Theallet is urg­ing other de­sign­ers to fol­low her lead. “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,” she wrote in an open let­ter pub­lished on Novem­ber 17.

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

“I am well aware it is not wise to get in­volved in pol­i­tics,” Theallet added.

“That said, as a fam­ily-owned com­pany, our bot­tom line is not just about money.”

The let­ter has prompted a flood of re­ac­tion on so­cial me­dia, much of it neg­a­tive.

Theallet, 52, who has worked in the United States for more than 15 years, is a reg­u­lar fix­ture at New York’s fash­ion week.

Her fem­i­nine de­signs have ap­pealed to Michelle Obama, who pro­vided wel­come pub­lic­ity by don­ning sev­eral of her dresses since 2009.

“She has con­trib­uted to hav­ing our name rec­og­nized and re­spected world­wide,” Theallet wrote of the cur­rent first lady, in­di­cat­ing pur­pose be­hind Obama’s fash­ion choices.

“Her values, ac­tions and grace have al­ways res­onated deeply within me.”

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