So last week, designer Sophie Theallet declared that she won’t be dressing Melania Trump (or any Trumps), and urged her fellow 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 said. “The rhetoric of racism, sexism and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by.”
And that’s when Tommy Hilfiger piped up. At the Angel Ball on November 21, the designer revealed that he feels absolutely the opposite.
“I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her,” he said, according to WWD. “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 Melania and Ivanka.”
Okay well first of all, fuck that. “Beauty” is subjective, and also has nothing to do with Theallet’s point. (Also, shout-out to Tommy Hilfiger for so publicly subscribing to white beauty standards. Just the icing on this shit cake.) Second, the point of the boycott is to stand for issues that affect the world — and to not be “political” sends the message that you’re so cushioned by privilege that you don’t have to worry about white supremacy, women’s reproductive rights (or rights in general), hate crimes, homophobia, xenophobia, racism or the bevy of swastikas we’ve seen go up over the last two weeks. By tapping out of making a political statement, Hilfiger basically said he’s fine with what the Trumps stand for, and then used their looks as justification for his apathy. Which is all sorts of backwards. But also all sorts of everything I guess we need to know.
Right now, it’s impossible not to make something political. Everything is political. Everything is usually political as is, but in the aftermath of the election and with the spike in hate crimes, you can’t opt out of political awareness. Or, if you’re going to, you have to at least admit that it’s because of your own privilege — it’s because what’s happening doesn’t affect you and doesn’t seem like it will. To dismiss politics and the realities of the world goes hand in hand with not caring because you don’t need to. So maybe what Tommy Hilfiger meant to say was “Oh, I don’t care because none of this affects me.” Which would’ve been just as aggravating, but would at least have made him honest.
But hey: as long as Melania and Ivanka are beautiful, right?