Just as she had chosen the Italian label Dolce & Gabbana for Wednesday’s meeting with Pope Francis in Rome, First Lady Melania Trump once again paid tribute to the host nation by wearing a Belgian designer in Brussels Thursday.
For her first photo-op with French First Lady Brigitte Macron at the Magritte Museum, FLOTUS wore a custom-made belted leather jacket and skirt from Maison Ullens with Manolo Blahnik snakeskin heels. Trump’s suit was made specifically for her trip to Brussels with Maison Ullens’ founder Baroness Myriam Ullens de Schooten and creative director Kim Laursen, according to a company spokeswoman. The Danish Laursen, who previously worked for Christian Lacroix, Azzaro, Elie Saab and Kenzo, designs the collection, worked on sketches based on Trump’s requests.
Trump’s team approached the company since she wanted to wear a Belgian label, a spokeswoman for Maison Ullens said. The company’s founder Ullens de Schooten started the company in 2009 after recognizing the lack of chic travel wear, while traveling. She met the first lady during a fitting. The French Belgian designer focused on knitwear, leather and cashmere pieces including reversible. Trump joins the ranks of such other Maison Ullens shoppers as IMF’s Christine Lagarde, Catherine Deneuve and Kelly Rutherford. Trump may know the company name from its Aspen store. It also has two boutiques in Paris. Geared for on-the-go women, Maison Ullen clothing is meant to be interchangeable with sneakers, brogues and stilettos.
While Trump chose a below-the-knee skirt, Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, was more daring in a short-sleeve minidress. Apparently, fashion wasn’t part of their conversation, according to Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham. Asked about their chat, she said, “It was general conversation and pleasantries.”
Throughout her week overseas, Trump has visited children’s hospitals including the Queen Fabiola Children’s Hospital in Brussels. Having singled out helping children issues as a priority, Trump has also visited schools, hospitals and, more recently, a shelter for young women in the U.S. “Issues surrounding children will always be a focus for the first lady,” Grisham said.
A breast cancer survivor, Ullens de Schooten, has her own causes, having started her own foundation in 2004 and created seven wellness centers in Europe. Each year 15,000 cancer patients receive psychological support and spa and beauty treatments to help alleviate stress. She and her husband Guy also started the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing.