President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, displayed the New York glamor of their family Friday night in a uniquely American tableau as they all swayed on stage before a backdrop of red, white and blue.
Their first dance was to Frank Sinatra’s 1969 hit “My Way.” The Rockettes performed in top hats and hot pants. Melania Trump stunned the crowds in a sleek white, off-the-shoulder column dress with a swooping arc across her torso and (modestly) leg-baring slit.
The somber inaugural festivities Friday afternoon marked the peaceful transfer of power. The inaugural balls Friday night were where the new President put his first stamp on Washington style.
The former real estate mogul, known for his affinity for over-the-top gold fixtures, went for classic Americana with touch of retro glitz. The parade of acts that performed at the three balls were reminiscent of what an itinerary might look like on a first trip to the attractions of Broadway and Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
Trump hinted ahead of time that his footwork wouldn’t be fancy — with a source telling CNN that he had no interest in practicing the first dance. And the focus of the night was on the fashion of the new first family.
In the most-anticipated surprise of the evening, Melania Trump helped design her jaw-dropping white dress in a collaboration with Hervé Pierre, the former creative director of Carolina Herrera.
Pierre said in a statement to Women’s Wear Daily that the first lady put her own distinct imprint on the dress.
“She knows what she likes,” Pierre told Women’s Wear Daily. “Our conversations were, and are, very easy. She knows about fashion, as a former model. She is aware about constructions, so we have already the same vocabulary when it comes to designing a dress.”
President Trump’s oldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, wore a white Oscar de la Renta pantsuit earlier in the day and chose another classic American designer for the evening, wearing a gold Carolina Herrera ball gown with jeweled sleeves and bodice and a bell-shaped skirt.
The President’s other daughter, Tiffany Trump, as well as the wives of Eric and Donald Jr. Trump — Lara and Vanessa — all wore varying metallic shades of silver, gold and pink with modified mermaid silhouettes.
Eight years ago, the Obamas launched their celebrity-studded era with Beyoncé singing “At Last” as Michelle Obama ushered in a new era of fresh-faced American designers in her white one-shouldered Jason Wu gown.
Former President George W. Bush brought a decidedly Texas flair to DC by wearing his cowboy boots to the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural ball.
The new President went for a pared-down celebration that was heavy on tributes to the military, patriotic themes and a reflection of his populism — right down to the $50 tickets that were meant to make the balls accessible to average Americans who supported his campaign.
The first couple dropped by all three official balls: two at the Washington Convention Center, as well as the invitation-only “Salute to Our Armed Services Ball” at the National Building Museum.
Beyond the Rockettes, other featured acts included Riverdance, the award-winning Irish dance troupe that burst on the scene in 1994, and jazz singer Erin Boheme, who kicked off the festivities by performing the 1956 hit “Mack the Knife.”
At the last ball, honoring American service members, Donald and Melania Trump danced to “I Will Always Love You,” the song made famous by Whitney Houston in the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard” where she starred with Kevin Costner. They were joined onstage with service members as the music played.