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One of America’s most in-demand fashion designers has said he does not want to dress the next First Lady of the United States, and has refused to do so in the past.
Tom Ford has joined a cohort of designers who have suggested they will not work with Melania Trump, despite the fact she used to be a fashion model.
Mr Ford told hosts on US TV show the View: “I was asked to dress her quite a few years ago and I declined."
"She's not necessarily my image," he added.
Other designers have been more explicit about the reasons they do not want to dress Donald Trump's 46-year-old wife, citing political differences.
French-born fashion designer Sophie Theallet, who has dressed Michelle Obama on so many occasions she is often referred to as the current first lady's "go-to" dressmaker, penned an open letter in November pledging not to dress Ms Trump, and encouraging other fashion designers to join a boycott.
“The Sophie Theallet brand stands against all discrimination and prejudice. Our runway shows, ad campaigns, and celebrity dressing have always been a celebration of diversity and a reflection of the world we live in,” Ms Theallet wrote in the note, which was shared on social media.
She added: “I encourage my fellow designers to do the same”.
American fashion desinger Marc Jacobs said he had not seen the letter but had "no interest whatsoever in dressing Melania Trump".
"Personally, I’d rather put my energy into helping out those who will be hurt by Trump and his supporters," he said.
Cambodian-American designer Phillip Lim agreed. "As a global brand, we are always looking to partner with individuals that we have authentic relationships with — ultimately, women and men that share similar set of values, desires and ideologies: inclusion, diversity, justice, consciousness, innovation," he said."With that said, we do not have a current relationship with Mrs. Trump and I don’t foresee a relationship developing under the Trump administration.”
However, other designers made it clear they would be happy to dress the new first lady.
Tommy Hilfiger, head designer of the classic US brand, praised both Ms Trump and her daughter-in-law Ivanka for their good looks and suggested designers should not take a political stance on who they will and will not dress.
“I think Melania is a very beautiful woman and I think any designer should be proud to dress her," he said. "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.”
But despite some brands publicly expressing support for her, no designers have yet announced a relationship with Ms Trump. The future first lady is believed to have been selecting and buying her own clothes online, including from popular mid-market retail site Net-a-Porter.
When pressed, Mr Ford said he feels his clothes are "too expensive" for a first lady to wear, because a first lady has to be relatable to the US public.
The current first lady, Ms Obama, however, wore a custom-made Tom Ford ivory evening gown in 2011, for a dinner with the royal family at Buckingham Palace.
The price of the dress is not known since it was one-of-a-kind, but Mr Ford's gowns tend to start around $5,000 (nearly £4,000), with many of his evening looks reaching five-figure prices.
"Michelle I dressed once when she was going to Buckingham Palace for dinner with the Queen," the 55-year-old said, when asked to comment on the apparent double standards. "I thought that was appropriate and I was honored."
When pushed on whether Ms Trump should really stop wearing expensive clothes once her husband takes office, Mr Ford said: "I’ll leave that to Melania."
He also made a point of noting that he would not dress Hillary Clinton if she was in the White House.
2016.12.02 / 12:24