Taoray Wang’s latest collection is all about contrasts: masculine and feminine, East and West and—unintentionally, perhaps—political and apolitical. Wang, a Chinese up-and-comer in the fashion industry, has also become known recently as the designer of choice for President Donald Trump’s daughter, Tiffany.
That role that was cemented when Tiffany Trump attended Wang’s New York Fashion Week show Saturday with her mother Marla Maples, boyfriend Ross Mechanic and an entourage of Secret Service agents.
The outing was Trump’s first public appearance since the inauguration. But despite Trump’s affinity for the designer, Wang tried to distance herself from politics. “I am purely a fashion designer,” she said backstage after the show. “I’m not a politician at all. I don’t study the political. I don’t understand how many [political] parties are in America, or their views. I don’t think it’s right for me to use that in my clothes.”
Wang’s collection heavily featured tailored suits with feminine twists, like sheer, lace shirts and hot pink trim. Notable looks included a thigh-length tailored blazer that tied closed over a sheer lace dress and a pair of wide-leg pants combined with a cropped blazer.
Wang, who began her career in menswear design, said called suits “traditionally, a symbol of men’s
power” backstage after the show. Her goal with this collection, she said, was to focus on the increasing influence of strong female leaders by incorporating both masculine and feminine designs into women’s suits.
That seems notable given how tailored pantsuits have become associated with Hillary Clinton and opposition to Trump during the election. A private Facebook group with millions of women supporting Clinton before the election was famously called “Pantsuit Nation.”
Wang said neither her affinity for pantsuits, nor her relationship with Tiffany Trump, are meant to make a political statement. But of course, she is not disappointed that Trump has now worn her clothes to several high-profile events: the first presidential debate, election night and her father’s inauguration. Wang has posted about it online every time the first daughter wears one of her designs.
Many designers have been less enthusiastic about associating with the Trumps. Several prominent designers, including Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford, have said that they will not dress Melania Trump. On Friday night, the notoriously avant-garde Chromat closed its Fashion Week show with rapper UNIIQU3 intoning “F—k Donald Trump” repeatedly from backstage. Waiting on the guests’ seats were bright pink buttons that said “Fashion stands with Planned Parenthood.” A statement from Chromat CEO Becca McCharen-Tran on each seat read “There is a feeling of paranoia, the end of truth and the dawning of a new era of persecution of the ‘other’ in the current political climate. We know that no one is entitled to a happy ending, and this has further strengthened our drive to fight for the inclusive and empowering world we want to see.”
In her post-show interview, Wang said she thinks more people have been paying attention to her brand since the inauguration but that she has not seen a noticeable increase in purchases. Currently, nearly all of her clothing is custom-ordered, but she is set to open her first U.S. retail store in New York in September.
Still, she said Trump choosing her design was an honor. “For the inauguration, I have to say, I’m really proud and very grateful she chose Taoray Wang,” she said. “For me, I didn’t expect she would wear my design that day…I only found out when I was watching it live.”