The 20th century witnessed the rise of the media event. The 21st, with its tan suits and swatted hands and flippant Zara outerwear, is bringing a new spin to the old idea.
It started, as controversies so often will, with fast fashion. On Thursday, as Melania Trump made a hastily planned trip to McAllen, Texas, to visit migrant children being kept in a holding facility at the Mexican/American border, she donned an olive-green anorak, gathered at the waist, that was printed on the back with the following words, seemingly painted in white: “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?”
It was a striking choice for a first lady embarking on a trip whose whole purpose, ostensibly, was caring—so striking, in fact, that the conspiracies about the first lady’s sartorial strategy pretty much theoried themselves. On the one hand, as East Wing staffers insisted, gamely trying to get #ItsJustaJacket to become a thing: Maybe the first lady’s foray into fast fashion was just that—a jacket, donned without much thought, by a woman who maybe got cold in her SUV as she made her way to Joint Base Andrews. Maybe people were reading too much, literally, into a piece of clothing. Ceci, c’est juste une veste.