After days of anticipation in advance of the Trump administration’s first official state dinner, First Lady Melania Trump welcomed guests to the White House dressed in a shimmery Chanel gown.
In what turned out to be an unofficial celebration of French labels, France’s First Lady Brigitte Macron wore an ecru-colored long-sleeved Louis Vuitton gown with gold brocade detail.
Along with a tuxedo-clad President Trump, FLOTUS was all smiles posing for photographers Tuesday night with the Macrons. Instead of an outdoor seated dinner under a big white tent, the First Lady opted for a more intimate gathering of 150 in the State Dining Room.
First Daughter Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Apple’s Tim Cook, Rupert Murdoch and his wife Jerry Hall, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault and his wife Hélène, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross an his wife Hilary, IMF’s Christine Lagarde, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife Louise, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife Nancy were among the guests photographed arriving.
Earlier in the day, decked out in a white Michael Kors suit and a New York-made wide-brimmed hat, the First Lady and her French counterpart toured the National Gallery of Art. And on Monday night the first couples enjoyed a helicopter tour of the grounds surrounding Mount Vernon before touching down at the historic site for a private dinner and low-key visit.
Brigitte Macron has been doing what she can to support the French luxury sector, having favored Louis Vuitton items during her Washington visit. France’s leading lady arrived wearing a hot pink cashmere coat from the label and carrying its City Steamer bag. At Mount Vernon, she wore a Louis Vuitton pale yellow dress and coordinating coat with a black-tie accent. Emmanuel Macron has also been sporting French finery, wearing shirts from Thuillier Paris. Dubbed the shirtmaker of presidents, the label has a decades long history of dressing heads of state. For Monday’s dinner at Mount Vernon, Macron went with a Thuillier Paris shirt handmade by French artisans. In addition to a stash of Thuillier ties including its Nox style with silk embroidery, the French president brought a tuxedo shirt that some might consider would be fit for a king. The cotton poplin plastron shirt took 11 hours to make, according to the French house.
Earlier in the day, FLOTUS’ go-to stylist and designer Herve Pierre confirmed that he was on the guest list. As an overnight guest at the White House, he was among the first to see the cherry blossom displays, as well as the lilac and sweat pea floral displays on the gold-accented tables in the State Dining Room. Guests tucked into racks of lamb and jambalaya on china used by the Clinton and Obama administrations. In a phone interview, he said, “I’m a very impatient person so I went to see how the room was decorated. It’s really magnificent. There is something really amazing that not one picture can give you — the smell of lilac in that room. The smell was absolutely insane. With Instagram and everything, we only speak about the eyes but we don’t necessarily have any social media for the nose. That is something still very mysterious. All these pictures are available but the smell is not.”
Pierre also spoke about the ongoing conversation he and the First Lady have about her fashion choices. Pierre said he sometimes visits designers’ showrooms for previews in search of ideas before actually shopping. “I do a selection, show it to her and then she makes the final cut. We look at the schedule first. I’m not going to take a dress because it’s just free. We need to have a purpose. We always try to find something that has a purpose,” Pierre said. “At some point, I need to find the clothes wherever they are. I have to go to a store that sells clothes and has clothes. I do my shopping. In America, it’s much easier.”
There are still a few more wardrobe changes planned before the Macrons return to Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday for their return flight. Most notably, a town hall meeting is planned for Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University.
The past week has been one of much diplomacy for FLOTUS, who helped welcome Japan’s Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie, to the Sunshine State and later flew to Houston for former First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral. (FLOTUS accessorized the black double-breasted Dolce & Gabbana coat with dolman sleeves she wore with patent leather shoes and a Calvin Klein clutch.) The Macrons’ departure Wednesday will be followed by another call for some homegrown hospitality – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to arrive in the Beltway Friday.