The Strategy Behind Megyn Kelly's Power Look for Her Donald Trump Face-Off

Megyn Kelly - Fewer Female Guests Than Her Rivals-Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump-H 2016
Courtesy of Eric Liebowitz/FOX

Her longtime stylist Dana Perriello dissects the silhouette, style and shoes that has the Fox News anchor going toe-to-toe with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee: "She wanted to look tough and not soft or vulnerable, more of a force to be reckoned with."

Like anyone with a strong sense of what suits her, Megyn Kelly is defining the power suit her way, replacing shoulder pads and boxy cuts with sharply tailored jackets and body-conscious dresses from her favorite designers, which include Alexander McQueen, Jason Wu, Roland Mouret and Dior.

In fact, the striking red dress with an asymmetrical hemline and slightly flared silhouette that Kelly wears in Tuesday’s interview with Donald Trump on Megyn Kelly Presents is by Dior. The fact that she was robed in such a bold shade didn’t happen by accident, and was selected to act like armor for what has been become a highly anticipated face-to-face with the presumptive Republican presidential candidate.

"The red color gave it the power perspective we were looking for," says Dana Perriello, Kelly’s longtime stylist, of the red Dior dress. "It plays really nicely with her sitting across from Trump."

It’s the balance between tough and feminine that the stylist says she and her star client are consistently trying to strike. Case in point: In dressing Kelly for the debates, Perriello says that as each showdown went on and became more and more important, the wardrobe selection process became more curious. "She wanted to look tough and didn’t want to look soft or vulnerable, more of a force to be reckoned with," says Perriello. "As debate moderator, [she's] there to ask tough questions, and I build that power element into her look."

Perriello describes Kelly’s overall aesthetic as "very polished and almost sharp," not unlike Claire Underwood in Netflix's House of Cards, a name the stylist says comes up a lot as an influence in Kelly’s wardrobe.

"We talk a lot about Claire Underwood from House of Cards," Perriello tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I think Megyn has a sexier edge than that character. She’s like a sexed-up version of her."

The body-conscious shapes, neutral palette and statuesque frame are a strong start in achieving Underwood’s buttoned-up look, but it’s Kelly’s new cropped haircut that also heavily channels the fictional first lady’s likeness.

Perriello says that between Kelly's new short hair and beautiful arms and upper body, attention to the neckline is always key. But even though it’s her upper half that is most consistently on-camera, the stylist says Kelly is most keen on her shoes, which can sometimes partially be seen because of her clear news desk on Fox News Channel’s The Kelly File.

"Shoes are her favorite part of the whole thing," says Perriello, citing Saint Laurent, Prada and Alexander Birman as Kelly’s favorite brands. "You can’t always seen them, but she still loves to have great shoes, I mean, who doesn’t?"

With killer heels, a sharp look and even sharper interviewing style, Kelly has managed to redefine power dressing in the political arena to be an attractive mix of smart and tough. Or as Perriello puts it, "Her look is still feminine and beautiful, but also says, 'Don’t mess with me.'"