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In case anyone is wondering who the new glamour queen of Washington, D.C., will be, Ivanka Trump reminded them on Thursday, when she released to her combined 4 million social media followers a stylishly staged photograph of herself walking off a U.S. Air Force plane with her family.
Striding ahead of her husband, Jared Kushner, Ivanka is wearing a feminine uniform of power, a monochromatic look consisting of an emerald-green top coat and matching sheath dress, with nude pumps extending her leg line. Her hair is tousled, and she’s smiling behind oversize sunglasses.
A news photograph this is not. It’s social media storytelling, a vision of Camelot in 140 characters or less. One imagines this image is just the beginning of Ivanka documenting her new Washington life on her social media channels, continuing to lend glamour and add value to her brand, even though she has technically stepped down and appointed a new leader for her label.
The photo is very fashion in its faux reality, as if it’s aiming to be one of the old 1960s and 70s‘ era Ron Galella paparazzi shots of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that have inspired so many fashion designers, including recent Trump target Tom Ford.
A photo posted by Ivanka Trump (@ivankatrump) on
It’s also the kind of glossy image that one might stumble upon while flipping through the pages of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar, one that puts well-dressed women who have it all — good looks, good fortune and beautiful families — first. It’s aspirational but just out of reach. Who could have all that? Someone born into it? Someone who works hard? There’s just enough of a realness to keep you longing. She is carrying her smallest baby, Theodore, 3, in her arms after all, no nanny in sight — a mother first, for now.
For me, the image brings to mind the advertisements Mario Testino shot for Michael Kors during the go-go late ‘90s. At the time, Kors was catering to Manhattan’s Park Avenue princesses, so much so that he named his fall 2000 runway collection, featuring coats and skirts in a black-and-white zigzag reminiscent of the top of the Chrysler Building, after the Upper East Side’s ritziest zip code, 10021.
Kors released a series of ads during those years featuring models descending private planes walking arm-in-arm with handsome guys on tarmacs. The private jet set, always looking flawless. Ivanka probably grew up on them, though Trump Tower is in 10022. With this image, she seems to be saying, “Happy days are here again,” or in 2017 parlance, #MAGA.
Donald and Melania Trump arrived in D.C. shortly afterward on Thursday. Their arrival wasn’t announced on social media but by the press corps, and the images of Melania, dressed in a black Narisol Ferrari coat and dress for the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony, aren’t nearly as compelling.
In case anyone was wondering who the real first lady is, she just walked off the plane wearing green.
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