Vogue's sly little dig at Melania Trump

For most of us, Melania Trump's presence at the great speech President Trump gave before both houses of Congress Tuesday was a welcome and pleasing thing.  She looked splendid in a glamorous Michael Kors evening suit, which fit her well and did not call too much attention to herself, as befits an event where the spotlight is on her husband.

But Vogue, which has long been known as a redoubt of Park Avenue leftists and radical chic canape-munchers, with much disdain for the "bridge and tunnel crowd" as Tom Wolfe documented, could only see...a parvenu.  Not our kind, dear.  NOKD, as they say in England.

In its blog item on Melania's appearance, its writer used art school language to say her outfit was referencing Dynasty.  Not "looked like someone out of Dynasty" or "resembled a character from Dynasty," but the art-world tony language of referencing Dynasty.  Dynasty, of course is a long gone TV show of the 1980s which was known for its imagery of conspicuous consumption, its drama-queen plotlines and its nouveau riche excesses.  Not exactly a cultivated thing appreciated by those with art-house pretentions.

The peak-lapel suit she wore for this, a rare appearance in the House Chamber, had a vaguely ’80s look about it, and the Dynasty references included a strong shoulder, nipped-in waist, and glossy finish. A midriff-cinching leather belt was her only accessory.

Does it really look like Dynasty to you?  Look at the bone-straight hair, the Michelle-Obama-style thick belt, the classic design, the muted shoulder pads, the understated color.  It looks like Dynasty only if that is what you are really, really looking for.

To its credit, Vogue was not overtly insulting or catty, and it did run two flattering pictures of Melania.  But it highlights that when its staff see Donald Trump, they see the vulgar excesses of the 1980s and sniff up their noses as they pin them on the Trumps – a couple that the fashion world has so clearly shown that it disdains.  Compare and contrast to the court-eunuch flattery it dished onto Michelle Obama, no matter what she wore, hits and misses.  It reminded one of flatterers in "The Emperor's New Clothes."

For the rest of us, maybe it's best to roll with it.  The 1980s were an era of unprecedented prosperity, and if Melania's outfit reminds people of prosperity, it might just be a pleasant association and a cause for hope.

Take that, Vogue!

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