In attendance were most of the American president’s entourage, but it wasn’t first lady Melania Trump’s choice of dress that attracted attention. Instead, it was White House communications director Hope Hicks whose ensemble created a social media lightning storm.
Hicks chose a tuxedo jacket à la Le Smoking and an almost-butterfly bowtie for an androgynous look, while the first lady opted for a floor-length red gown.
Twitter users were eager to seize the sartorial choice as a moment to do everything from offer praise to remark that the 29-year-old White House employee looks less a political staffer and more like a character from the early aughts teen drama Gossip Girl (the irony being Hicks was the face of a Gossip Girl-inspired book in 2005.)
ok so hope hicks wore a tux last night to the dinner in Japan and I’m dead thx bye. pic.twitter.com/d81waurCNO
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) November 6, 2017
WHOA: Hope Hicks in a tux at Japan state banquet. Emasculation—teasing Trump inner circle by looking better in their clothes—or surrender? pic.twitter.com/0xXUYZSomJ
— rachel s tashjian (@theprophetpizza) November 6, 2017
Hope Hicks – State banquet (Japan)
Black tux with the silk bow tie to boot. Respect. pic.twitter.com/WBijAMw2ye
— Chet Cannon (@Chet_Cannon) November 6, 2017
Hey upper east siders. Spotted at the state dinner in Japan was latest Mueller informant Hope Hicks.Can she keep a secret? -xoxo Gossip Girl pic.twitter.com/tySOaUWpSj
— Clifton Dassuncao (@ClifsTweets) November 6, 2017
Although it may be an unexpected choice within the political arena, women in tuxedos hardly elicit a double take within fashion circles and on celebrity red carpets. Yves Saint Laurent created Le Smoking in 1966, a now-iconic tuxedo-style suit made especially for women, which became part of Saint Laurent’s legacy and grew to become one of fashion’s most revolutionary silhouettes.
Tux-clad stars such as Rihanna, Evan Rachel Wood, Janelle Monae, and Diane Keaton all come to mind, though it’s unknown yet (albeit unlikely) whether Hicks opted for something comparable to an Altuzarra or Dolce & Gabbana, as her celebrity counterparts have done. Hicks did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.