On Monday morning in London, Melania Trump stepped off of a Marine One helicopter and into the year 1981, and specifically the moment that Joan Collins made her Dynasty debut as (then) Alexis Morell Carrington in a dramatic courtroom scene.
On day one of the Trumps' state visit to Britain, dressed in a white pencil dress, black collar, and belt by Dolce & Gabbana, the first lady seemed to be channeling Collins—especially when it came to the matching Hervé Pierre hat pinned over her bun. FLOTUS only needed black-rimmed sunglasses (and veil) to complete her Alexis metamorphosis.
Melania’s boater hat sat sharply tilted to the left, shielding her eyes from photographers, even though her usual deadpan never gives much away. The loss of her peripheral vision may explain why Melania gripped her husband’s hand while attending a remembrance ceremony at Westminster Abbey. (The first lady has previously evaded—or even swatted away—her husband’s attempts at public intimacy.)
Melania's buttoned-up silhouette is nothing new. When she’s not traipsing through Africa in colonial-era pith hats, FLOTUS gravitates towards Art of the Deal-era power dressing. She rests big coats on top of her shoulders to bulk up her silhouette, and displays remarkable agility when it comes to walking in skin-tight pencil skirts and four-inch Louboutins.
When photographed alone, the absurdity of her costume-like garments can be forgotten. But when pictured with others, as she was today with Camilla in a simple white sheath dress, Melania’s joyless, Nancy Reagan cosplay came off as all the more extreme.
Ivanka Trump watched the pomp of her father’s arrival at Buckingham Palace from a window above the palace’s lawn. Staring out from behind a sheer curtain like some villainous American cousin in Downton Abbey, Ivanka managed to out-’80s Melania in an (also white) peplum pleated skirt and blazer by Alessandra Rich.
The puff-sleeved style came with a gaudy rhinestone belt. It really felt like we were back in the 1980s, and the boxy-meets-flouncy silhouettes Diana wore in her early royal years.
While Melania played Queen Nancy, Ivanka channeled her mother, Ivana, with her more-is-more getup. As if her human doily look was not enough, Ivanka added a bizarre fascinator for the Westminster ceremony, leading the writer Paul Rudnick to imagine a Harry Potter scenario.
Ivanka’s tiny hat was unfairly compared to a maxi pad by Twitter critics, though it resembled less of a sanitary napkin and more of a half-assed balloon animal slapped onto her pin straight hair.
Still, the 37-year-old “first daughter” smiled as she took in the historic church. Ivanka’s easygoing, “nothing to see here” performance is all the more impressive considering it was fresh off of her husband Jared Kushner’s disastrous Axios interview on Sunday.
A few hours later, the entire crew changed for dinner and were back at it again—an inexplicable feat, really, by the gloriously pained looks slapped on each player's face.
The color white stayed popular at the night's banquet. The Queen, Camilla, and Melania all tried different takes on the hue, as if starring in an ill-advised First Wives Club reboot.
Melania opted for a mesh illusion neckline and feather design at the bust of her showgirl-y gown. She paired the dress with surgical-looking, ill-fitting evening gloves, as if covering nearly every part of her body might will her straight back to Trump Tower.
The younger generation—Will and Kate, Ivanka and Jared—smartly stayed away from the deliciously strange photo op Trump, Melania, the Queen, Charles, and Camilla all found themselves in.
Once the dinner was underway, Ivanka was spotted in a baby blue collared dress with floral appliqués. Her pearls and the dress’ demure silhouette was pure Stepford Wife, though the some bedazzling on the bodice resembled day old confetti.
Sitting next to her, a not amused Sophie, Countess of Wessex, looked like she was one champagne flute away from breaking the “Never complain” royal code.