Melania Trump put Gucci at the top of presidential campaign headlines when she wore the Italian fashion house's pink pussy-bow blouse to her husband's second debate with Hillary Clinton last October. Then, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway showed up at Donald Trump's inauguration in a $3,600 red, white, and blue Gucci coat that she bizarrely called "Trump revolutionary wear." Neither of the women were loaned the clothes; they bought them off the rack or online, which may be why we didn't hear a peep from Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele about it—until now. Michele recently talked about the Melania and Kellyanne incidents with The Washington Post's Robin Givhan, telling her: "We have all kinds of customers. Everybody is free to do what they want."
See Melania in the controversial "pussy bow" blouse:
True, but the Trump administration's policies, especially those on immigration and transgender rights, are in opposition to what Michele has been championing—diversity and inclusivity—with Gucci's ad campaigns. The pre-fall 2017 campaign featured all people of color, and the ads for Gucci's new fragrance, Bloom, includes trans model, actress, and activist Hari Nef. So it is a bit of a surprise that Michele is OK with it all.
Melania wearing Gucci at the debate was one of the more confusing moments of the campaign—just two days earlier, a recording of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting a woman surfaced and went viral. The phrase that caught the most media attention was the then presidential-hopeful Trump saying that he could "grab [women] by the pussy." So what was Melania's intention when she chose that particular $1,100 top? Was it a flip "f-ck you" to those outraged by Trump's comments? Or a silent show of solidarity with her fellow women? Never mind that the pink pussy hat became a major emblem of the women's marches around the world.
Several fashion designers have spoken out about whether or not they would dress Melania, and how they felt about her wearing their clothes, from Sophie Theallet and Christian Siriano (hard pass) to Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren (the latter of whom made her inauguration day suit).
See where designers stand on the issue:
Michele seems to have taken a diplomatic approach: "To be against something or someone, it's a dangerous thing. It's easy to be against your enemy, but if you give them a big hug... " he said in his Washington Post interview. To the more cynical, this may look like a shrewd business strategy. Others (myself included) might take a more optimistic view. Michele is actually practicing what he preaches, and believes there's room for everyone in his eclectic, wildly popular Gucci universe. Either way, it's working; Gucci, a $5 billion brand, saw its revenue increase by nearly 13 percent last year.
PHOTOS: All of Melania's outfits since becoming FLOTUS
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