Melania Trump's fashion catches eyes in South Korea

Melania Trump's fashion catches eyes in South Korea
PHOTO: Korea Herald/Asia News Network

US first lady Melania Trump's wardrobe choices for official events are often under immense media scrutiny in the West, but in South Korea, her outfits receive mostly positive reviews for being classy, yet fashionable, although the see-through sequin dress she wore for the state dinner raised some eyebrows among fashion conservatives here.

Melania Trump went for a navy see-through sequin dress with lace designed by J. Mendel -- retailing at a hefty 10 million won ($9,000).

Wearing her hair down and wavy with minimal jewelry, she stood out from the pack, contrasting against Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook, who wore a traditional Korean dress covering the entire body.

"While first ladies typically use fashion to support American or emerging designers on trips abroad, it looks like Melania goes for her own preferences such as European brands," said Park Young-sil, a brand image strategist, giving an example of Trump's choice of Italian fashion powerhouse Fendi during her visit to Japan earlier this week.

"She looked gorgeous in that dress, but was it appropriate for a state dinner? I don't know," a long-time fashion reporter said in reaction to her look.

Photo: Reuters

Trump, accompanying her husband on his first official trip to Asia, sported an avant-garde fall trend with her volumized updo as she arrived at around noon on Tuesday.

The 180-centimeter former model wore a mid-length sculptural coat with puffy sleeves by Spanish designer Delpozo and her ubiquitous sky-high Manolo Blahnik heels.

The fall-esque outfit featured a zipper and thin belt, which altogether retails for $4,000. It was the first look of the second stop on the presidential tour of Asia.

In that outfit, the first lady toured Cheong Wa Dae with South Korean first lady Kim and met with schoolchildren at US Embassy Korea.

"Mrs. Trump always wants to be thoughtful and respect the traditions and protocols of the countries she visits," communications director Stephanie Grisham was quoted as saying by CNN. "She knows she is representing the United States, and wants to be sure she is appropriate in all that she does."

On Wednesday, Melania Trump accompanied President Donald Trump for his address at the National Assembly and paid respects at the National Cemetery. There, she wore a knee-length black coat featuring a thin black belt, in unity with her long formal black pants and sky-high stiletto pumps.

The presidential couple then left to China to continue the tour of Asian countries.

When the Trumps visited storm-ravaged Texas in August, Melania Trump was photographed walking in stiletto pumps, part of an outfit including tailored capri pants and aviator sunglasses.

She was also criticised for her $1,390 red flannel shirt by French designer Balmain at a garden event with children at the White House in September.

Kate Andersen Brower, an American author who wrote "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies," said that first ladies typically use fashion to support American designers.

"They put the spotlight on emerging designers and, on trips abroad, to pay tribute to foreign designers. ... Michelle Obama was brilliant at this -- she wore an Indian-American designer to the India state dinner, all British designers on a trip to London and Kenzo in Tokyo," she said in a recent interview.

"But Melania Trump is not a first lady who appears to care all that much what people have to say about what's in her closet," she added.

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