First Lady Melania Trump made a dramatic entrance wearing a pale yellow J. Mendel gown at tonight’s black-tie dinner at Blenheim Palace.
The evening host British Prime Minister Theresa May also appeared to take the dress code seriously, wearing a sleeveless red gown with a noticeably high slit. Her husband, Philip, like President Trump, kept things basic in a traditional tuxedo.
A different version of FLOTUS’ pleated dress was available in J. Mendel’s Madison Avenue store this spring in another shade. At the request of the First Lady’s stylist Herve Pierre, the label’s designer Gilles Mendel created one especially for tonight’s dinner at the country estate that was Winston Churchill’s birthplace. The choice of pale yellow, a favorite color of Queen Elizabeth II, was intentional and was meant to “pay homage” to HRH, according to Pierre.
The Trumps, joined by the Mays, ascended the red-carpeted steps of Blenheim Palace to two-folded fanfare — protests outside the palace and a military ceremony featuring a performance of the “Liberty Fanfare” by bands of the Scots, Irish and Welsh guards. A three-course meal will be served to guests, who include a number of prominent British business leaders. After the dinner, the Trumps will travel to the U.S. ambassador’s official residence, Winfield House in London’s Regent’s Park, where they will spend the night.
The dress was agreed upon and paid for earlier this spring, Pierre said. He first met Mendel’s parents when, as a recent graduate in the Eighties, he sold them sketches in Paris. The dress was selected purely because it was right for the occasion — a challenge given the industry’s current over-the–topness, he said.
The international spotlight comes at an unfortunate time for J. Mendel, which filed for bankruptcy late last month after facing multiple lawsuits for unpaid bills. Traveling in Europe, Mendel declined comment Thursday via e-mail.
Earlier in the day FLOTUS touched down in the U.K. wearing a tan fitted cap-sleeved dress with a thin burnt-orange belt from British designer Roland Mouret. Whenever possible, the First Lady’s fashion choices are meant to acknowledge the country she is visiting or an American designer, Pierre said. For Wednesday’s concert in Brussels for the spouses of NATO leaders, Trump wore a sleeveless navy Calvin Klein 205W39NYC dress from the first collection by Raf Simons, a Belgian-born, New York-based designer. In the evening, she opted for a sleeveless white embroidered tulle Elie Saab dress for a dinner with her NATO counterparts. More often than not including Wednesday, her stilettos are Christian Louboutin.
While the President took it upon himself to praise his NATO efforts by setting up an unscheduled press conference in Brussels on Thursday morning, the First Lady was more diplomatic about her experience. In a statement released by the First Lady’s Office Thursday, FLOTUS said, “I enjoyed the company of the many NATO spouses — it was an opportunity for us to come together in an exchange of ideas, and appreciate the unique cultural traits of Belgium.”