First lady Melania Trump donned an Escada gown for the Ford’s Theatre gala, where she honored Black Entertainment Television (BET) co-founder Sheila Johnson with the Lincoln Medal.
Melania, who is known for having a strong hand in her fashion decisions, donned a black, gold, and white Escada gown for the event, according to the Daily Mail.
While her dress was gorgeous, and the $2,700 price tag may be a talking point, the people behind the creation of the dress speak to the value of women in business.
In 2009, Indian businesswoman Megha Mittal, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, according to Reuters, agreed to purchase the brand. As of 2016, the brand’s CEO, Iris Epple-Righi, is also a woman.
Melania attended the gala with her husband, President Donald Trump, last year, but this time around, she served as the honorary chairwoman on her own.
“Tonight reminds all of us about the power the arts have in cultivating the American voice,” Politico reported she said in closing remarks.
The first lady added a thank you to the Ford’s Theatre Society for both the night’s entertainment as well as its dedication “to education and leadership in the arts.”
She noted that arts have an “invaluable” impact on society and are “something we will continue to cherish throughout time.”
Melania also awarded Johnson and golfer Jack Nicklaus with the Lincoln Medal, which is given to people who exemplify former President Abraham Lincoln’s character.
The first lady congratulated Johnson and Nicklaus on Twitter, sharing a few photos from the evening.
Thank you @Fordstheatre & the talented performers for a special evening celebrating the arts & the legacy of former President Lincoln. Congratulations to @jacknicklaus & Sheila Johnson, the recipients of the Lincoln Medal! pic.twitter.com/EEJLhLn5qb
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 11, 2018
Johnson founded BET with her then-husband in 1979 and sold it to Viacom in 2001 for $2.9 billion, according to Forbes.
Since the creation of BET and her divorce, Johnson has established herself as an entrepreneur in her own right. She’s invested in hotels, planes, real estate, and produced and financed Lee Daniels’ 2013 film, “The Butler.”
She was also ranked number 22 on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women in 2015.
This isn’t the first time the first lady has likely used fashion as a way of speaking without saying a word.
During her first state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigitte Macron, Melania donned an haute couture Chanel gown covered in Chantilly lace.
Her stylist addressed the first lady’s fashion symbolism when he discussed her inauguration gown with Harper’s Bazaar.
He said the dress, which she helped design, spoke to how her four years as the first lady were going to be “straight to the point.”
The Ford’s Theatre gala is the third public appearance Melania has made since undergoing kidney surgery and taking a weekslong break from the public eye.