Melania Trump wore a pussy bow blouse to the second US presidential debate

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Jenna Clarke

Melania Trump wore a shirt with a big, floppy bow to the second US presidential debate, a style that is more commonly known as a pussy bow blouse. 

It’s a move which could be read as a fashion statement in solidarity with feminists, an act of silent rebellion or one of the best sartorial sledges ever witnessed against her beleaguered husband.

Dressed in a hot pink ensemble and white pumps topped off by a $1065 pussy-bow silk crepe de chine shirt from Gucci’s pre-fall 2016 collection, Mrs Trump arrived in St Louis, shook Bill Clinton’s hand and took her place in the stands alongside Trump’s children while the internet blew up analysing her ensemble.

It was her first public appearance since the first debate where she donned a black off-the-shoulder stretch-knit dress by Roland Mouret that retails for more than $2400.

A Trump campaign spokesperson told CBS her latest outfit choice “was not intentional” despite the last 72-hours of international press being dedicated to her husband’s derogatory comments about women, where he bragged to entertainment reporter Billy Bush about his attempts to court women.

“I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait,” he said. “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Mrs Trump, who was married to the Republican nominee at the time the comments were made in 2005, denounced his actions over the weekend, saying via a statement: “The words my husband used are unacceptable and offensive to me.”

She then reportedly had a “lack of interest” helping clean up Trump’s image by appearing in a joint television appearance with him in the style of the Clinton’s 60 Minutes interview in the early ’90s after Gennifer Flowers claimed she had maintained a 12-year affair with Clinton while he was governor of Arkansas.

Her act of grabbing a Gucci pussy bow blouse and wearing it to one of the most watched debates in recent election history could also be a pointed reference to Trump’s major platform: “Make America great again”.

While her husband appears to know how to appeal to those who enjoy “locker room talk”, Mrs Trump’s pussy bow spoke on some level to the female voters he continually maligns.

The bow style shirt – a billowing blouse with extra fabric around the neckline that could be fashioned into an oversized bow tie – was in vogue in the ’70s and ’80s when women began landing jobs in corner offices of the corporate world.

“We used to dress in suits with a skirt and a jacket with button-down shirts and a little bow tie, because that was sort of our interpretation of the man’s tie,” Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive Meg Whitman said in the 2013 documentary, Makers: Women Who Make America. “It was our attempt to be feminine but fit into what was then a male world.”

Mrs Trump’s shirt was not only a nod to female pioneers in high-level executive positions it was also a celebration of the success of Gucci’s new creative director Alessandro Michele. Both Mrs Trump and Michele have similarities that extend beyond a love of good fabric, Italian tailoring and shopping on Net-A-Porter.

Michele was controversially appointed to helm the house in January 2015 after 12 years of working quietly behind the scenes at Gucci.

At the time of his shock promotion he was staring down the barrel of declining sales and a tired, irrelevant brand. In results published earlier this year, Gucci recorded a five per cent increase in sales for the final quarter of 2015 – when his first collections hit the racks.

While Mrs Trump has been relatively absent during the election campaign, perhaps her best work is yet to come should she shock the world by landing in the White House and following in Michelle Obama’s footsteps, something she has form in doing.

 

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