Written by The Strategy
While the idea of “clothes and dressing” is often deemed frivolous and inconsequential, what we put on our bodies actually carries a lot more meaning. What we wear not only protects us from the elements, but also shows the world who we are and what we stand for. Saying that, we were in awe of many of the carefully considered sartorial choices made during yesterday’s Presidential Inauguration Festivities in the US. The clothes worn by the newly elected President, the first female, black & south asian Vice President, and their respective guests, were all thoughtful stunning pieces, filled with meaning.
President, Joe Biden and Second Husband, Doug Emhoff wore all-American designer, Ralph Lauren; The Vice President, Kamala Harris, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, all (at various different events) wore purple looks from BIPOC and emerging American brands, and many of the attendees gave the monochromatic trend a major moment. One thing became clear during the Inauguration events: this administration really does care, and will imbue that principle into every decision, including what to wear.
Inauguration Eve – The COVID Memorial
The night before Inauguration Day, at the COVID Memorial, Vice President Kamala Harris wore a camel coat by Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss over an Oscar De La Renta knit crepe de chine dress. Kerby Jean-Raymond, a Haitian-American designer, was one of the first designers back in September 2020 to gather much-needed PPE for hospital workers. He also provided $50,000 in grants for small businesses affected by Covid.
Dr. Jill Biden wore the “Unity” coat and dress with a matching scarf, by Jonathan Cohen, a Mexican-American designer with a focus on sustainability.
Inauguration Day – The Swearing In Ceremony
For his Inauguration Day, 46th President Joe Biden opted for a blue suit by Ralph Lauren, the Bronx-born designer who symbolizes the ‘American Dream.’ The colour choice was a nod to the Democratic party and its colours.
Matching her husband, in a different shade of blue, Dr. Jill Biden wore a custom-made Markarian coat, dress and face mask. Markarian is an up and coming female-founded brand by designer, Alexandra O’Neill.
Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn-in wearing a purple coat, dress and mask by Christopher John Rogers, and adorned with her signature pearls, by Wilfredo Rosado, a Puerto Rican jeweller. Harris’ pearls are a nod to her Howard University sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first African American Greek-letter sorority. As the founders were often referred to as the ‘Twenty Pearls,” since her graduation, Kamala has worn pearls at nearly every important life event.
Her choice of purple ensemble, was a sartorial statement made in solidarity with former first ladies Michelle Obama and Hilary Clinton. As Dr. Jill Biden wore the night before, the colour is a mix of the political party colours, red and blue, and stands for solidarity and unity. Hilary Clinton wore the colour to give her concession speech 4 years ago, and Kamala often wore the hue during her presidential campaign to honour Shirley Chisholm, who wore the colour during her campaign as the first black women to run for president. It is also important to note that the colour is an official colour of the US women’s suffrage movement.
Speaking of the former first ladies, Michelle Obama wore a plum-coloured three-piece ensemble by black designer, Sergio Hudson, while Hilary Clinton wore a signature pant suit by Ralph Lauren.
The monochromatic-heavy day also saw the Biden women stun in their chic monochromatic elegance. Naomi Biden in Adam Lippes, Finnegan Biden in Brandon Maxwell, and Natalie Biden in a pink Lafayette 148 coat that pretty much stole the whole show. Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff wore an epic Miu Miu coat that put her right on track to be one of the next great style icons. One of our favourite part of the swearing-in ceremony (besides celebrating the first Female, African-Asian Vice President, of course), was the glimpse of Nikolas Ajagu’s Jordan x Dior 1s. The husband to Meena Harris and nephew-in-law to the Vice President was wearing one of the rarest sneakers of 2020, and ‘The Best Shoe of The Year’, according to Esquire.
Youth Poet Laureate, whose poetry and poise had us nearly in tears, Amanda Gorman wore a bright yellow Prada coat and red headband with Nikos Koulis gold hoop earrings and an Of Rare Origin ring, gifted from Oprah. Speaking on her choice of wardrobe for the event, Gorman stated that she chose Prada because she admires Miuccia Prada for her intellect and long-standing feminist values.
Other notable mentions from the daytime events include Lady Gaga in Schiaparelli, Jennifer Lopez in a suffragette white look by Chanel, and of course, Bernie Sanders in a Burton jacket and Jen Ellis mittens, made from recycled water bottles.
The Celebrating America Concert
To conclude the inaugural celebration, Kamala Harris wore a Sergio Hudson liquid sequin cocktail dress with a silk tuxedo overcoat and custom Irene Neuwirth earrings.
Dr. Jill Biden wore a white coat and dress, another homage to women suffragists, with floral embroidery by Gabriela Hearst, a Uruguay-born designer based in New York. The flowers that adorned the dress are different official state flowers.
Natalie and Finnegan Biden wore beautiful and age appropriate Markarian dresses, Maisy Biden coolly rocked a Rodarte dress with Nike high-top sneakers, and first daughter, Ashley Biden stunned in a Ralph Lauren tuxedo, complete with cropped cigarette pants and an open bow tie.