U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump headed the U.S. delegation at the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit, held Nov. 28-30 in Hyderabad, India. While the Indian government accorded her a royal treatment and went above and beyond to make the trip as memorable as possible for her, the fashion police wasn’t as kind.
These days any dignitary or celebrity’s fashion choices are as heavily discussed – the word to use here is scrutinized – as the event they are attending. So obviously, Trump’s sartorial choices on this trip piqued the interest of the national and international press.
Everybody was keen to know who she was wearing, or did she employ any Indian designer to create an outfit for her?
Trump arrived in the city of pearls, wearing a heavy pearl-embellished Tory Burch jacket and black pants. While this first look did not leave any impression, it was her second look that caused a stir.
On day one of the summit during an official meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, Trump disappointed anyone and everyone when she showed up in a green floral silk dress and black mules. The $3350 Erdem midi dress, which seemed to be inspired by Indian textiles, was panned unanimously by critics for being “so weird” and “distracting.”
Calling the Oriental-esque dress with an overlapping neck and a keyhole “an absolute let-down,” India Today wrote that the dress “did do a good job of flaunting the entrepreneur’s svelte figure but that’s literally all that the dress did well.”
The best look, according to the press, from her entire trip came when she donned another Tory Burch creation for a dinner hosted by Modi at the regal Falaknuma Palace. The heavily sequinned royal blue gown with full sleeves received a nod of approval from most people. She kept her hair back in a neat bun and accessorized her look with smoky eyes and pearl drop earrings.
It was earlier reported that ace Indian designer Neeta Lulla had been commissioned to design an “intricate and exquisite” outfit for Trump. But the First Daughter seems to have decided against it and instead opted for the blue gown. A spokeswoman for Lulla told The New York Times that the sari gown had been made as a welcome gesture to Trump, if she wanted it.
Though Trump may have looked like she was on a mission to promote Tory Burch, the designer of the eponymous brand told The New York Times: “We don’t work with Ivanka at all.”
Pieces were written on how Trump gave the Indian designers a miss, so comparisons were drawn between former First Lady Michelle Obama and her.
“Obama often wore designers from the countries she was visiting or hosting as a way to honor the nations,” wrote elitedaily.com. “But for Trump in her India trip, although she made some intentional strides to pay homage to Indian culture, she just missed the mark a bit.”
For her second day at the summit, Trump chose a red dress with lace sleeves and floral accents by London-based contemporary womenswear designer Saloni Lodha.
She wore a black and white flowing dress with embellished flats and cat-eye sunglasses to tour Golkonda Fort. Swirlster.ndtv.com wrote: “We aren’t sure, if this was an appropriate choice of outfit for a fort visit. While we were hoping to see her in a monochrome outfit, this wasn’t what we had in mind.”
Slamming Trump for “superficial assimilation of culture,” the DailyO, owned by the Indian Today Group, went on to call her the “Botoxed American Barbie.” But another piece by the publication added that “Perhaps Ivanka wanted to play it safe here, a look that would be all covered up and unlikely to offend any ‘easily offendable’ sensitivities.”
Though her outfits were a clear departure from her usual style, they did nothing other than mimicking the country’s fashion, said some.
“If Ivanka’s clothes are to be an acknowledgment of an ancient and rich culture like ours, especially as she arrives as a dignitary, then the sartorial ‘tribute’ should be authentic in its intention,” Bandana Tewari, the editor at large of Vogue India, told The New York Times. “We would rather see her wear a hand-woven sari made in our country or a handmade gown made in her own country. But to hybridize the two, in an era of unfiltered diversity, is a superfluous nod to half-acceptance.”
Trump departed the country in a white kurta style dress with contrasting yellow and green embroidery and jootis.