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Designers mixed on dressing former model Melania Trump

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/2/2016 By PATRICK MAIRS, Associated Press
FILE - In this July 18, 2016, file photo, Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump walks to the stage as Donald Trump introduces her during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Fashion designer Tom Ford said on ABC's "The View" Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, that he had had been asked to dress Mrs. Trump “quite a few years ago” and declined because “she’s not necessarily my image.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this July 18, 2016, file photo, Melania Trump, wife of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump walks to the stage as Donald Trump introduces her during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Fashion designer Tom Ford said on ABC's "The View" Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, that he had had been asked to dress Mrs. Trump “quite a few years ago” and declined because “she’s not necessarily my image.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

First lady-to-be Melania Trump likely won't be wearing designer Tom Ford's clothes in the White House.

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2016, file photo, fashion designer, writer and director Tom Ford attends the premiere of "Nocturnal Animals" in New York. Ford said on ABC's "The View" Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, that he had had been asked to dress first lady-to-be Melania Trump “quite a few years ago” and declined because “she’s not necessarily my image.” (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2016, file photo, fashion designer, writer and director Tom Ford attends the premiere of "Nocturnal Animals" in New York. Ford said on ABC's "The View" Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, that he had had been asked to dress first lady-to-be Melania Trump “quite a few years ago” and declined because “she’s not necessarily my image.” (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Some of the designers who clamored to dress first lady Michelle Obama have been mixed about dressing Mrs. Trump, a former model. Ford became the latest to weigh in on the matter during an appearance this week on "The View."

The designer was asked to dress Melania Trump "quite a few years ago:" and declined because "she's not necessarily my image," he said on the ABC chat show Wednesday.

Ford is a Democrat and voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, he said, before adding that even if Clinton had won, she shouldn't have worn his clothes because "they're too expensive." His clothes cost a lot to make and the president needs to "relate to everybody," he explained.

Asked if Melania Trump should wear expensive clothes, Ford replied: "I'm going to leave that to Melania."

Ford was willing to dress first lady Michelle Obama for a London visit with Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 and isn't the first to be less enthusiastic about outfitting Mrs. Trump.

Sophie Theallat, whose designs have been worn by Mrs. Obama on several occasions, wrote in an open letter last month that she would not dress Mrs. Trump specifically brought up politics in urging her colleagues to take the same tact.

"The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband's presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by," Theallat wrote.

The letter prompted Women's Wear Daily , which covers the fashion industry, to survey other prominent designers on the question of working with Mrs. Trump, who began modeling in Paris and Milan at age 16 before settling in New York 20 years ago.

While Marc Jacobs said that he has "no interest whatsoever" in dressing Mrs. Trump, Tommy Hilfiger told the trade magazine he was willing, calling her "a beautiful woman who would make any designer's clothes look great."

Cynthia Rowley told WWD the question was "somewhat irrelevant," since Mrs. Trump can simply buy whatever she wants to wear.

"Checking someone's ethical beliefs before they're allowed to purchase, sets up an exclusionary dynamic that feeds into the exact mentality that is preventing us from moving forward in a positive direction," Rowley said.

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