On Monday, after Donald Trump continued to threaten violence against those protesting police brutality in a Rose Garden address, federal police cleared a path for his photo op at the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church by using rubber bullets, flash bangs, and chemical agents on peaceful protesters. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers such chemical agents tear gas, but Trump 2020 is furiously contesting the phrase.) When he got there, he held up a bible, and the photos he was after were snapped.
The task of transporting the prop fell to Ivanka Trump. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that she’d brought it over to the church in a large, white $1,540 Max Mara handbag. It was impossible to miss in photos of the group at the church, where Trump lofted up the bible and did little else.
Understandably, the Italian luxury brand hasn’t sent out any press releases to tout the event. Fashion houses often do that when one of their items makes a prominent public appearance, though they’ve largely slowed such updates during the protests and the coronavirus pandemic. A representative for the label didn’t return a request for comment.
Max Mara had more luck in the arena of political fashion at the end of 2018, when Nancy Pelosi wore its fire red coat from 2011 to a televised Oval Office meeting with Trump where they, along with Mike Pence and Chuck Schumer, clashed over the causes of a soon-to-come government shutdown. Praise showered down from fashion media, and Max Mara embraced Pelosi’s allegiance:
The label’s creative director Ian Griffiths told the Times then, “You develop an emotional relationship with a coat like nothing else in your wardrobe. I can imagine why Ms. Pelosi chose to wear it for this important moment, and I’m honored.” A few months later, the brand reissued the coat.
It seems unlikely that the Max Mara customer who took a page from Pelosi’s book will do the same with Ivanka, or at least not so proudly. But whether or not the bag gets an Ivanka bump, she did further illustrate the fashion distinction between empowered and entitled. It’s kinda her thing.
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