Meghan Markle and Melania Trump: Their fashion moments of 2018

From the ‘I don’t care’ jacket to a white crepe gown, the stand-out looks of two style icons

Meghan Markle and Melania Trump: two of the world’s most photographed women. Photgraph: composite

Meghan Markle and Melania Trump: two of the world’s most photographed women. Photgraph: composite

 

Two of the most photographed women in the world, Melania Trump and Meghan Markle, have very different styles of dress and self presentation. Looks that make each of them stand out – in their own ways

“I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear,” complained Melania when interviewed during her solo tour of Africa in October. Yet the first lady of the US continues to make her clothes a talking point. Sporting a pith helmet in Kenya was certainly not the right signal to send in a post-colonial world.

Melania in a pith helmet on safari in Kenya. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Melania in a pith helmet on safari in Kenya. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

But that was nothing compared to her faux pas in June when she caused outrage wearing a $52 Zara parka with the words “I really don’t care, do U?” painted on the back, while on a visit to the forceably separated families on the US/Mexican border.

One of Melania’s most controversial choices. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
One of Melania’s most controversial choices. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The lettered jacket followed the extraordinarily insensitive rigout of stilettos and shades the previous August when accompanying her husband to Houston in the catastrophic aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. In May last year, when she stepped out in a lavishly embroidered coat by Dolce & Gabbana costing $70,000, she stirred things up again.

Melania in a Dolce & Gabbana coat, which cost $70,000. Photograph: Giovanni Isolino/AFP/Getty Images
Melania in a Dolce & Gabbana coat, which cost $70,000. Photograph: Giovanni Isolino/AFP/Getty Images
Melania attracted criticism for her choice of outfit to visit a hurricane site. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Melania attracted criticism for her choice of outfit to visit a hurricane site. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

There have been high points, however. The green leopard-print dress by Brandon Maxwell which she wore to the White House on St Patrick’s Day to greet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, was widely admired.

Melania Trump in a green leopard print dress for St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images
Melania Trump in a green leopard print dress for St Patrick’s Day. Photograph: Alex Edelman-Pool/Getty Images

Her white suit by Michael Kors on the second day of French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the US was highlighted by a head-turning white hat by Hervé Pierre. Her taste for European labels and high heels by Manolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin doesn’t go unnoticed, nor does her preference for accentuating her waist and embonpoint.

French President Emmanuel Macron kisses Melania’s hand. Photograph: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images
French President Emmanuel Macron kisses Melania’s hand. Photograph: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Many would argue that she looks her best when wearing outfits defined by their shape, rather than outlined by belts, as in the black coat-dress by Dolce & Gabbana on her arrival with her husband in China.

Melania’s cool demeanour is a contrast to Meghan Markle’s warmth and more easygoing manner. The Duchess of Sussex’s style is elegant, youthful, increasingly polished and said to be similar to that of Angelina Jolie; both have similar humanitarian interests.  

Meghan meeting members of the public in Belfast, in March. Photograph: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage
Meghan meeting members of the public in Belfast, in March. Photograph: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Jess Mulroney, a close friend of Meghan’s since her days on TV show Suits is acknowledged as being her unofficial stylist and was behind the choice of Irish designer Don O’Neill’s floor-length ivory crépe dress which the Duchess wore to a state dinner with the king of Tonga.

The Duchess of Sussex in a white crépe gown by Irish designer Don O’Neill. Photograph: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage
The Duchess of Sussex in a white crépe gown by Irish designer Don O’Neill. Photograph: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Visiting President Higgins at the Aras in July, her taupe dress by Roland Mouret was typical of her preference for well-cut tailoring, highlighting a well-toned body.

Meghan with Sabina Coyne during her visit to Dublin in July, 2018. Photophra: Andrew Parsons/Pool/Getty Images
Meghan with Sabina Coyne during her visit to Dublin in July, 2018. Photophra: Andrew Parsons/Pool/Getty Images

Now a global style icon, she prefers solid colour to pattern, wears black for public evening events and is often seen in Givenchy, the French house led by Clare Waight Keller, who made her wedding dress.

Meghan wearing a custom Givenchy gown at the Fashion Awards in 2018 Photograph: Joe Maher/BFC/Getty Images
Meghan wearing a custom Givenchy gown at the Fashion Awards in 2018 Photograph: Joe Maher/BFC/Getty Images

A clue to her style was in an endearing interview she gave to Glamour magazine. “I love that French way of styling where if your outfit is pulled together, something has to be dishevelled – your hair or your make up”.

Meghan’s style is elegant, youthful and increasingly polished. Photoraph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Meghan’s style is elegant, youthful and increasingly polished. Photoraph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
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