First Daughter Ivanka Trump is being slammed over what fashion blogs are calling "cultural appropriation," for wearing dresses with "Indian-inspired" prints during her visit to the southeast Asian country last week, instead of Indian designers.
Ivanka donned clothing from Tory Burch and a $3500 Erdem gown while meeting with leaders in India about a series of education initiatives at an entrepreneurship summit Hyderabad.
The First Daughter appeared to be taking her cues from Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton who wore mostly British designers like Jenny Packham and Anna Sui — and even Tory Burch — on her royal trip to India, but who also incorporated Indian themes and Asian designs into her wardrobe as a way of honoring her host country.
Kate was hailed as "classically elegant" and "fashion forward," and at the time, fashion blogs heaped praise on the Duchess for her culturally appreciative wardrobe. But Ivanka earned no such praise.
“If Ivanka’s clothes are to be an acknowledgment of an ancient and rich culture like ours, especially as she arrives as a dignitary, then the sartorial ‘tribute’ should be authentic in its intention,” said Bandana Tewari, editor of Vogue India. “We would rather see her wear a hand-woven sari made in our country or a handmade gown made in her own country. But to hybridize the two, in an era of unfiltered diversity, is a superfluous nod to half-acceptance.”
Another fashion blogger called her "[B]otoxed Barbie" and accused Ivanka of a “superficial assimilation of culture." Another suggested that the fact that Ivanka dressed in Asian patterns, but from western designers, was a covert sign that she agreed with imperialism.
An "art theorist" from London told Newsweek, at least, that "cultural appropriation" might be too strong a charge, since Ivanka did depart from her typical style to honor her host country.