The dress from the French fashion house is from the famed label’s haute couture line, which makes custom pieces. The design made its debut at Chanel’s Spring 2018 runway show in Paris as a jumpsuit, but was made into a gown for Melania for this gala occasion.
Among the guests were French first couple President Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron, who arrived in Washington on Monday for a three-day visit, which included a tree-planting ceremony at the White House, a private helicopter ride with the Trumps, and dinner at the Virginia home of first President George Washington.
Mrs. Macron is going with a different French brand for the night. Wearing a long-sleeved white gown in a Grecian style with gold embellishments, the piece was custom made for her by Louis Vuitton.
It’s a big night for Melania, whose spokesperson Stephanie Grisham told CNN, “Mrs. Trump selected every item and every detail for the dinner, from the entrée to the chair cushions.”
The first lady is taking a cue from history, with first ladies of yore tasked with planning every detail of the glitzy affair down to the centerpieces and menu font. As Kate Andersen Brower, author of First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies told NPR, “Laura Bush said she wasn’t nervous before her own wedding but she was nervous before the first state dinner with the Mexican president. I think it’s a lot of pressure.”
Guests dined from a menu designed to “showcase of the best of America’s cuisines and traditions, with nuances of French influences,” according to ABC News, and features a salad with ingredients from the White House kitchen garden (planted by Michelle Obama in 2009), along with goat cheese gâteau, tomato jam, and biscuits. The main course was a rack of lamb and jambalaya, and dessert’s ice cream and a nectarine tart.
The list of invitees has caused controversy due to its exclusivity. Unlike past dinners, which welcomed celebrities (the Obamas invited Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, Gwen Stefani, and Giorgio Armani), no movie stars made the cut. Jerry Hall, Rupert Murdoch, Tim Cook, and Henry Kissinger were the A-list names in attendance. The affair’s also noticeably partisan, with only one Democrat attending.
Many Trump administration members were on hand though, including Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, and Jared Kushner with his wife, Ivanka Trump. The first daughter wore a pink polka-dot dress from Rodarte, which retails for $12,888.
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