What Melania Wore: First lady's Saudi style a big deal

 20 May 2017 - 15:19

What Melania Wore: First lady's Saudi style a big deal
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (R) takes her seat next to The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (seated-L) as he welcomes her and U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) with a coffee ceremony in the Royal Terminal after they arrived aboard Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Riyadh: What women wear can often be the focus of critique and controversy -- all the more so when the woman is an ex-model, married to the US president and disembarking in Saudi Arabia.

The question of what first lady Melania Trump would wear on her husband's his first foreign trip echoes similar debates around Michelle Obama's decision to wear colour -- blue and white -- and not cover her hair on a visit to Saudi Arabia. 

But with Trump's hawkish political profile, and the first lady's insider position in the world of fashion, buzz around what the president's wife would wear and whether that would include a headscarf was at a high in the hours before Air Force One touched down in Riyadh. 

Melania Trump embarked on Marine One at the White House on Friday in a high-waisted midi pencil skirt in orange leather with a front split, a cream crewneck sweater with bows at the cuffs .

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for his first international trip as president, including stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and at the G7 summit in Sicily, from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


(Vogue swiftly identified the sweater as MaxMara and the skirt as tomato-red by Herve Pierre, the designer behind Melania's white inauguration gown.)

When she emerged at Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport the next morning, the first lady's attire was more conservative -- black patent stilettos and a black long-sleeved, wide-leg jumpsuit with a narrow slit down the neckline, cinched at the waist with a wide gold belt. 

And like Michelle Obama, and Obama's predecessor Laura Bush, Melania Trump did not cover her hair. 

Obama had earned praise for her decision not to cover her head, but Donald Trump at the time tweeted his disapproval. 

"Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf enemies," read a Jan. 29, 2015 tweet on Trump's personal account. 

Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka also did not have her hair covered when she emerged from Air Force One in a long-sleeved black-and-white maxi dress, holding her husband Jared Kushner's hand. 

Local media on Thursday quoted Saudi Arabia's foreign minister as saying authorities did not demand anyone adhere to any specific clothing regulations. 

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