Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour dodged questions about First Lady Melania Trump on Sunday and instead pivoted to offer high praise of former First Lady Michelle Obama.
“I think it’s important for Vogue to support women who are leading change in this country,” Wintour said while being interviewed by Anna McElvoy for “The Economist.”
McElvoy suggested that President Donald Trump could be dressing “in his sort of ill-fitting suits and the strange trousers and red baseball camp” as a way to purposely echo his political base, but noted that the first lady is much more stylish and collected.
“Melania, put together in a much more put-together way,” McElvoy said. “She did come to the UK, and I think very consciously, wanted to see herself as an ambassador for British fashion, in this case, or a transatlantic ambassador, I mean. Do you value that?”
“Well, I think first lady Michelle Obama really was so incredible in every decision she made about fashion,” Wintour responded. “She supported young American designers. She supported designers, indeed, from all over the world.”
“She was the best ambassador that this country could possibly have in many ways, obviously, way beyond fashion,” Wintour added.
When McElvoy clarified that Michelle Obama is no longer the first lady and again asked her thoughts on Melania Trump, Wintour responded that Michelle Obama is the example of a fashion ambassador whom she admires.
Wintour has headed Vogue, the world’s leading fashion magazine, for more than three decades. Although the New York-based editor was born in London, she later became an American citizen. However, she has also received multiple honors from the Queen including Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2008 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2017, according to The Guardian.
Wintour has been an outspoken supporter of former President Barack Obama but has not been shy about her criticism of the Trump administration and consequent dislike of the Trump family.
While discussing Vogue’s longstanding tradition of featuring first ladies on the cover when they get into office, Wintour implied during an interview in April that the current first lady will not be seen on any of her future covers.
Responding to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour’s contention that she has been “overtly political,” Wintour noted that when it comes to cover features and profiles, the Vogue editor-in-chief must take a stand.
“I also feel even more strongly now that this is a time to try and – I think that one has to be fair, one has to look at all sides – but I don’t think it’s a moment not to take a stand,” Wintour said at the time. “I think you can’t be everything to everybody.”
“To be on the cover of Vogue doesn’t define Mrs. Trump, she’s been there and done that long before she was first lady,” Melania Trump’s office fired back in a statement. “Her role as first lady of the United States and all that she does is much more important than some superficial shoot and cover.”
“This just further demonstrates how biased the fashion magazine industry is and shows how insecure and small-minded Anna Wintour really is," the statement continued. “Unfortunately, Mrs. Trump is used to this kind of behavior."