A Battle of 2 Outfits

A Battle of 2 Outfits
Image:Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

On the final night of the RNC, right before the President waddled his way to the podium to accept the nomination, his shiny, taut daughter, Ivanka, strolled out to the podium to fulfill her role as his fluffer. The speech was bombastic and served essentially as practice for a horrifying future in which Ivanka maybe runs for public office. Dressed in the stereotypical New York uniform of all-black, including what appeared to be leather joggers, Ivanka shilled for her father in a speech that blew her brother, Don Jr.’s, out of the water. The outfit was staid and almost boring: the perfect foil to her stepmother, Melania, who made a sartorial choice that firmly established that she is the top dog in this house, and don’t you fucking forget it.

Anything Ivanka said or did was erased temporarily as Melania escorted her husband to the stage. The dress—a slime green Valentino that is currently on sale for $2750 at Saks—was paired with a strange, raspberry-colored belt and the ice-pick stilettos she favors. Of all the choices Melania could’ve made for this event, bright green is a curious one, leading me to wonder who on her PR team let this slide: her dress is the perfect fodder for green-screen memes, which immediately proliferated on Twitter. But regardless of the reason behind the dress, it still made its mark. It is an absurd choice for any event, more at home on a red carpet for a lesser awards show than anything else, and in that, it is perfect. But it is the direct opposite of Ivanka’s choice and a subtle means of establishing that yes, there is indeed beef between Trump’s top two women, and it likely won’t go away anytime soon.

New York Magazine recently ran an excerpt from Melania and Me, a juicy tell-all book about Melania’s inner life, written by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the First Lady’s former best friend and one-time employee. It appears that Ivanka’s insistence on being in the spotlight has rubbed Melania the wrong way, outlined most clearly in what Wolkoff describes as “Operation Block Ivanka”: a calculated attempt to prevent Ivanka from stealing Melania’s First Lady thunder at the inauguration. Detailed walkthrough plans of the special day when this country was plunged into hell revealed in the excerpt illustrate the depths of Melania’s pettiness, threatened by her husband’s daughter’s ambition and cunning. According to the excerpt, Ivanka wanted to be visible during the inauguration much like Obama’s daughters were at his swearing-in, and Melania, bless her, didn’t love that!

From New York Magazine:

One of the WIS executives sent me notes from the walk-through. He had been prohibited from taking pictures; instead, he’d drawn a sketch to give me a decent overview of the Trump section and where the chairs would be positioned in a semicircle around the dais. We knew where the cameras would be located because the platforms were already in place. Using his sketch, we were able to figure out whose face would be visible when Donald and Melania sat in their seats, and then when the family stood with Chief Justice John Roberts for Donald to take the oath of office. If Ivanka was not on the aisle, her face would be hidden while she was seated. For the standing part, we put Barron between Donald and Melania and made sure that Don Jr. stood next to Melania, not Ivanka.
We were all exhausted and stressed out. Yes, Operation Block Ivanka was petty. Melania was in on this mission. But in our minds, Ivanka shouldn’t have made herself the center of attention in her father’s inauguration.

The levels of pettiness in this carefully-constructed plan are admirable; though I have no sympathy for Melania for the choices she’s made have been hers and hers alone, I have to respect a woman who is willing to commit middle-school level acts of cruelty in order to maintain her position of power. The dress, then, is another act of defiance. The White House is Melania’s house, and Ivanka, merely a guest.

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