US First Lady Melania Trump wore a Chinese-style embroidered gown or ‘qipao’ from Gucci’s 2016 collection, which debuted on the runway in Milan in February 2016, for Thursday night’s state dinner hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.
The first lady’s black floor-length dress was adorned with colored flowers and a phoenix, symbolizing the emperor’s wife in imperial China. The dress sleeves were decorated with pale pink fur.
Hong Kong fashion designer William Tang, however, thought Trump’s gown was overdone, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
“Westerners tend to think Chinese style should be loud,” Tang said, cited by SCMP.
President Xi Jinping’s wife, Peng Liyuan, wore a sheer black qipao over a dark red sleeveless dress for the formal state dinner.
Earlier that day, the two women visited a primary school and dressed accordingly; Trump in a $4,000 Dolce & Gabbana dress with pink floral detailing, and Peng in a dark Western style coat over a dark bronze qipao.
Shanghai-based fashion designer Fang Yang, echoing Hong Kong’s Tang, wasn’t too impressed with Trump’s school outfit.
“To be honest, I didn’t like the big floral dress Melania wore to school,” Fang said.
“It actually makes her look older and two sizes bigger than she is. Peng Liyuan looks quite conservative in that double-breasted coat, but the slits on the side revealing the dress inside are quite interesting and makes the outfit much lighter,” he said, cited by SCMP.
Fang also prefered Peng’s grey coat with the draped neck compared to Trump’s beautiful yet solemn all-black coat worn during a tour of Beijing’s Forbidden City on the first day of the trip.
“Peng looks warm, sophisticated and happy and the piece is very well designed,” Fang suggested, adding, “Melania looks very conservative and serious in all black. It looks so heavy. I would have given her a colourful scarf or accessory to lighten things up.”
Tina Liu, a Hong Kong-based image consultant, thought both women did well with their outfits.
“These two couples are more than professional in wearing whatever needs to be worn for their daily activities,” Liu said. “They have people behind them to support this part of the operation.”