Melania Trump, in a pussy bow blouse, beaming with confidence. Photo: Getty Images
Art, they say, imitates life. Sometimes, fashion does too. This morning (our time), for instance. During the 2nd US presidential debate broadcast, just before the opponents spoke, the camera zoomed in on Melania Trump shaking the hand of former president Bill Clinton. That in itself wasn’t significant. But her outfit caused quite a bit of speculation on Twitter. Are the colour, apparently one of Hillary Clinton’s faves, and the matching top and bottom—although not a pantsuit—together a signal that the wife of the most controversial presidential hopeful in America’s democratic history is casting her approval towards camp Clinton?
Read what you may into her option, what struck us is the blouse, more specifically the pussy bow. Surely when “grab them by the pussy” is trending after her husband’s deplorable 2005 off-camera but hot-mic performance was exposed by The Washington Post, her choice of attire must mean something. Is she telling the world that, even after 11 years of marriage, there is no competition, and she’s still up for Donald Trump’s grabs? Mrs Trump is, by most accounts, a feminine woman. Surely she would not need a detail of dress once associated with Margaret Thatcher and what the latter had called “rather softening” effect in the corridors of power. Or was this merely Melania Trump following fashion?
Hedi Simane’s pussy bow blouse for Saint Laurent shown during Paris Fashion Week in 2012. Photo: Monica Feudi/feudiguaineri.com
As we know, in fashion, sometimes enough is just not enough. Since Hedi Slimane reintroduced the pussy bow at his debut for Saint Laurent back in 2012, this icing on the blouse has not melted or flowed down. You’d think that by now, it’s left out in the rain (excuse us, we’ve been humming the Richard Harris tune!) for too long. But up to the recent fashion weeks, the pussy bow isn’t showing any signs of retirement. We doubt even Mr Slimane had thought that what he revived would stick around longer than his tenure at Saint Laurent.
As if the trickle-down effect of that intro was not enough, the pussy bow was given a glamorous new lease of life by Gucci’s Alessandro Michele in 2015. It appeared in both the men’s and women’s collections, and has flourished happily since then. After so many seasons (and languishing in the likes of Forever 21), you’d think that this floppy bow that shares the disparaging slang name of female genitalia would have gone to its grave. It has not. Melania Trump showed how alive it is, even surrendering it in pink!
Just some of the pussy bows of spring/summer 2017. Photos: Indigital
It is possible that Mrs Trump’s confidence in wearing the pussy bow to a globally televised event is bolstered by its continued appearance on international catwalks. This season, with new creative heads taking over heritage houses, it’s not unreasonable to hope that something that by now is a woeful cliché won’t pop up like post-precipitation mushrooms. Yet it did. At Dior, a pussy bow on a sleeveless blouse really had no reason to be on the runway, but it appeared—the tail ends swinging as gloriously as a flag on a windless day.
What’s the real appeal of the pussy bow anyway? It’s hard to say. Minimalism, together with discretion, has gone into hibernation while decoration and excess are having a magnificent moment. Some fashion items do not retire easily just as some trends have a grip that’s hard to shake loose. Will the pussy-bow blouse be the next denim shorts with shredded crotch? In the case of Melania Trump’s blouse—by Gucci, as reported—could it be intended irony or an allegory of wifely support? Some pussies, as Donald Trump learned with dismay and to his campaign’s detriment, just have more lives.