Hope Hicks went from mimicking Ivanka Trump's style to ripping off Melania Trump's -- and it could reveal a building drama inside the White House

  • Hope Hicks has gone from emulating Ivanka Trump's style to mirroring first lady Melania Trump's fashion picks.
  • Since President Trump's election, the right has turned against Ivanka.
  • Hicks' fashion choices could signal a shift in how the White House communications director — once an ally of Ivanka — is thinking about the Trump administration.

Hope Hicks has come a long way since doing PR for Ivanka Trump's fashion line.

And while the 29-year-old White House communications director rarely speaks on the record, the evolution of her fashion reveals some key facts about the direction of the Trump administration.

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Hope Hicks began working for Ivanka Trump's fashion brand in 2014, four years after she graduated from Southern Methodist University.

(Reuters)

"Hicks grew close to Ivanka and began dressing like the heiress, who seemed worthy of the emulation," GQ reported. "Ivanka was that rare female corporate leader who is also kind to other women, and she affected an air of competence that seemed to temper the boorishness of the Trump brand."

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When Hicks began working on Trump's presidential campaign, she mimicked Ivanka's accessible style — lots of business-casual dresses in pale shades or florals, with heels and long, straight hair.

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As Ivanka Trump campaigned for her father, her role was to convince more progressive Americans that Trump was a worthwhile political pick. 

(Reuters)

As she continues to attempt to win over skeptics, Ivanka has dressed primarily in accessible styles that most Americans could buy or replicate, including her own line and fast-fashion brands like Zara.

(Reuters)

Hicks seemed prepared to fulfill the same role behind the scenes. Trump, early advisors like Corey Lewandowski and Roger Stone, and some alt-right supporters alike are known for their over-the-top antics.

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Meanwhile, Hicks is private and has avoided making enemies. "I have always found Hope to be great to deal with, especially given the volume of requests she must be getting," Maggie Haberman of The New York Times told GQ.

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While Hicks rarely gives interviews on the record, her polished, Ivanka-inspired fashion tells a story of its own. She fashioned herself as a reasonable outlier in the bombastic and scandal-prone Trump campaign and administration.

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However, in recent months, Hicks seems to be undergoing a fashion pivot that could signify that there are bigger factors at play behind the scenes.

(Reuters)

While once Ivanka Trump was a conservative darling, the first daughter has fallen out of favor with much of the right, including the president.

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Republicans' perception of Ivanka Trump has dropped as the first daughter has been increasingly seen as a moderating force. Even President Trump was reportedly frustrated after Ivanka criticized Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual harassing and assaulting teen girls.

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Over the same period, Hope Hicks has stopped taking fashion cues from Ivanka — and moved on to Melania Trump.

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Hicks debuted the new fashion strategy at a state dinner in Tokyo. Instead of the soft dresses that Ivanka is known for, the communications director showed up in a sleek suit that could have come straight from Melania’s closet.

(Reuters)

As Ivanka’s reputation has tanked, perception of Melania has only gotten better. According to a recent CNN poll, the first lady has a 48% approval rating, compared to the president’s 38%.

(Reuters)

So, it shouldn’t be that surprising that Hicks’ new wardrobe is filled with Melania-inspired, high-fashion looks. Melania’s sense of fashion is sleeker than Ivanka’s, with more makeup and sharper angles.

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Hicks isn’t someone who will publicly trash members of the Trump administration. Instead, she is more subtle in signaling her allegiance.

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As other members of the Trump administration have fallen to the wayside, Hicks has held on and risen through the ranks. She knows how to stay in the good graces of the president — and right now, that looks like trying to copy Melania, not Ivanka.

(Reuters)

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During the Trump presidential campaign, Hicks' fashion choices were very similar to Ivanka Trump's. But over the last few months, Hicks has ditched the flattering pastels of Ivanka for the more severe fashion of first lady Melania Trump.

Here's a look at the evolution — and how it could represent a massive shift in the mindset of one of the most trusted members of President Trump's administration.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Hope Hicks:

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Everything you need to know about Hope Hicks
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Everything you need to know about Hope Hicks

Hicks and her sister, Mary Grace, were successful teen models. Hicks posed for Ralph Lauren and appeared on the cover of "It Girl," a spin-off of the best-selling "Gossip Girl" book and TV series.

Hicks and her sister, Mary Grace, were successful teen models. Hicks posed for Ralph Lauren and appeared on the cover of "It Girl," a spin-off of the best-selling "Gossip Girl" book and TV series.

Hicks met patriarch Trump and quickly "earned his trust," Ivanka Trump told The New York Times for a June 2016 profile on the spokeswoman.

In January 2015, Trump called Hicks into his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower and told her she was joining his presidential campaign. "I think it’s 'the year of the outsider.' It helps to have people with outsider perspective," Hicks said Trump told her.

Hicks didn't have any political experience, but her public-relations roots run deep. Both grandfathers worked in PR, and her father, Paul, was the NFL's executive vice president for communications and public relations. He was also a town selectman from 1987 to 1991. Greenwich proclaimed April 23, 2016, as Paul B. Hicks III Day.

Hicks started working on what would become Trump's campaign five months before Trump announced his presidency, after he famously rode a golden escalator down to the lobby of his tower on June 16, 2015.

That makes Hicks the campaign staffer who has persisted in Trump's inner circle the longest. She outlasted his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and several senior advisers.

People close to her describe Hicks as a friendly, loyal fighter. Trump has called her a "natural" and "outstanding."

While reporters who have worked with Hicks say she's polite, they have expressed frustration that she was often unreachable on the campaign trail, not responding to requests for comment, or denying access to the candidate.

She said her mom, Caye, told her to write a book about her experience with Trump, like "Primary Colors," the fictional novel depicting President Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. "You don't even know," she said she told her mother.

During the campaign, Hicks spent most of her days fielding reporters' requests and questions — even reportedly taking dictation from Trump to post his tweets.

During the campaign, Hicks stayed in a free apartment in a Trump building, though she'd often go home to her parents' house in Connecticut when she could.

These days she's in DC. Trump named her his assistant to the president and director of strategic communications in December.

She still flies below the radar, directing the spotlight back on Trump. The then president-elect called her up to the microphone to speak at a "Thank You" rally in December.

It's been said she can act as a sort of Trump whisperer, understanding his many moods and professionally executing what needs to be done. She still only calls him "Sir" or "Mr. Trump."

"If the acting thing doesn’t work out, I could really see myself in politics," Hicks told Greenwich Magazine when she was 13. "Who knows."

In June, the White House released salary info for 377 top staffers. Hicks gets paid the maximum amount that any of Trump's aides receive: $179,700.

Hicks is making as much as Trump's former chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon, former press secretary Sean Spicer, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, policy adviser Stephen Miller, and communications official Omarosa Manigault.

Some family members and friends have expressed concern that Hicks is so closely tied to a president whose policies and statements are unpopular with a significant number of Americans, but are confident that she'll come through unscathed.

"There is just no way that a camera or an episode or a documentary could capture what has gone on. There is nothing like it," Hicks told Marie Claire in June 2016. "It is the most unbelievable, awe-inspiring thing."

In August, Trump asked Hicks to be the new interim White House director of communications, a job that Michael Dubke, Sean Spicer, and Anthony Scaramucci held and left in Trump's first six months in office. The White House will announce who will serve in the job permanently "at the appropriate time."

The 28-year-old Hicks is the youngest communications director in history.

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