Gucci has not released a formal statement about how Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, wore a hot pink pantsuit from its Pre-Fall 2016 collection to the Presidential Debate on Sunday evening. The Italian design house has, however, made a less overt statement. Instead of featuring a photo of Trump in her Gucci look on its social media – as the house has been so prone to do when celebrities, such as Elle Fanning, Cate Blanchett, Amal Clooney, and Dakota Johnson, among others, are spotted in Gucci garments – the design house has remained silent on this front, as well.
The fashion industry is largely – and not secretively – a huge backer of Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton, after all. For instance, during New York Fashion Week, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (who reportedly serves as a campaign wardrobe consultant for Clinton) and Huma Abedin, Clinton's top aide, organized "Made for History Fashion Show,” a fundraising event for Clinton. Wintour has headed up other fundraising events for Clinton in recent months.
As Vestoj’s Alice Hines noted earlier this year, in an article entitled, Why Being a Democrat is Always Fashionable, “Two months before the U.S. presidential election, American designers demonstrated their political zeal with swag. The collection, which debuted at a runway fundraiser, included a bandana by Thakoon, a pouch by Brett Heyman and T-shirts by Marc Jacobs, Joseph Altuzarra and Tory Burch. These favoured, predictably, Hillary Clinton. ‘Unlike the Republican candidate’s unspeakably hideous ties, our collection is made in America by union workers,’ announced host Anna Wintour.”
Hines' article continued: “Before there was Clinton swag, there was Obama swag. Before there was Obama swag, there was Kerry swag. (Donald Trump has swag, but no designer names are attached.) That the fashion industry leans to the left is no surprise considering that seventy per cent of people currently favor Clinton in New York City, where the U.S. fashion industry is also based. All the same, it’s worth asking: if being a Democrat is always fashionable, whom are these items really trying to convince? Do we purchase Diane von Furstenberg’s Hillary Clinton T-shirt to show solidarity, or to build our personal brands? Do designers create them because they will change hearts and minds – or to reassure themselves that their industry has a role to play in their nation’s critical decisions?”
It seems Gucci – although largely lacking votes in its upper echelon, as an Italian company owned by a French conglomerate, mostly made up of non-US residents – is similarly pro-Clinton but is playing nice, as that is in the brand's benefit. Fashion has not historically positioned itself as an authority on serious political matters and that is not without calculation. "Like many for-profit enterprises, fashion labels benefit from neutrality – Oscar de la Renta for example famously dressed First Ladies from Kennedy to Reagan to Clinton. Similarly, retailers discourage controversy," notes Hines.
As such, for many of the designers that took part in the "Made For History" event - and there were many (think: Joseph Altuzarra, Public School's Dao-Yi Chow & Maxwell Osborne, Eva Fehren, Prabal Gurung, Brett Heyman, Marc Jacobs, Pamela Love, David Neville & Marcus Wainwright, Monique Péan, Tanya Taylor, Thakoon, Diane von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, Tory Burch and Georgina Chapman), such involvement is likely not meant to make a serious political statement (as that could be damning for their bottom lines) but is meant to encourage political engagement among consumers. Hines believes that it is their way "to assert the fashion industry’s relevancy at a time when it is in jeopardy." It is also a way to sell more garments.