Controversy Blooms Over FLOTUS’ Jacket

US First Lady Melania Trump steps out of a car as she arrives at Chierici Palace, part of a visit of the G7 first ladies in Catania, Italy, Friday, May 26, 2017. On Friday and Saturday, for the first time all seven are around the same table, including also newcomers Emmanuel Macron of France, Theresa May of Britain and the Italian host, Paolo Gentiloni, forging a new dynamic after a year of global political turmoil amid a rise in nationalism. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

US First Lady Melania Trump steps out of a car as she arrives at Chierici Palace, part of a visit of the G7 first ladies in Catania, Italy, Friday, May 26, 2017. On Friday and Saturday, for the first time all seven are around the same table, including also newcomers Emmanuel Macron of France, Theresa May of Britain and the Italian host, Paolo Gentiloni, forging a new dynamic after a year of global political turmoil amid a rise in nationalism. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

TAORMINA, Sicily (AP) — Melania Trump’s first outing in the Sicilian sunshine was in a colorful floral applique jacket by Dolce & Gabbana that sells for $51,000, or several thousand dollars below the median U.S. income in 2015.

She also carried a matching clutch to lunch with spouses of the G-7 leaders, held at the historic Elephants Palace and hosted by Catania’s mayor.

The burst of color in the U.S. first lady’s wardrobe came after a steady dose of mostly black and white during President Donald Trump’s inaugural overseas tour, including a prim black lace dress with a matching mantilla headcover that she wore to meet Pope Francis, and a dark jacket with golden detailing on the cuff and collar that she wore for her arrival in Italy. Both outfits were also by Milan designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.

The fashion choices of America’s first ladies are a longstanding source of public fascination, and Mrs. Trump is getting a taste of that on the trip, her first extended period in the public eye since her husband’s inauguration. She has been living in the couple’s penthouse at Trump Tower in New York instead of the White House, but plans to move to Washington once the couple’s 11-year-old son finishes the school year.

Michelle Obama, for example, received rave reviews for most of the gowns she wore to White House state dinners that she and her husband hosted. But she was also mocked for some fashion choices, including wearing shorts on Air Force One and sporting designer sneakers that cost more than $500 during a visit to a food bank.

The first lady’s attire can also be a big boost for designers.

Gabbana has celebrated each of Mrs. Trump’s appearances with Instagram posts. He shared three photos of the floral jacket, worn over a simple white shift dress, with Mrs. Trump looking model-perfect as she stepped out of an SUV. Gabbana tagged the photo with hearts and a “Thank You” to @flotus #melaniatrump.

Dolce & Gabbana have made Sicily their fashion muse, so it wasn’t surprising that Trump’s wife would wear their designs in Sicily, the final stop on Trump’s trip.

Mrs. Trump, a former model, is known for her stylish appearance. Her fashion choices so far have been a contrast to her predecessor, who liked to mix designer items with more accessible brands like J. Crew.

The retail price for the Dolce & Gabbana jacket Mrs. Trump wore comes in at about $51,500, below the median U.S. household income of $56,516 in 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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