Style File: US President inauguration signals inclusivity

Andrew M. Santos

It’s hard to overlook the degree of symbolism in Kamala Harris’ sartorial pick to the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Joe Biden. Cutting a fine figure in a purple ensemble by Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson (two emerging black designers), she managed to send out messages of inclusivity, bipartisanship and acceptance. Apparently, the hue denotes a deeper meaning about collectivism since its made by combining red and blue, the tones representing Democratic and Republican parties. Hillary Clinton had also worn violet in her 2016 concession speech while dwelling on America’s political chasm. 

Former President Barack Obama with former First Lady Michelle arrive at the ceremony. (Photo: Agency)

Moreover, the choice of purple could be a nod to Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman to run for President of the United States. Kamala styled her ensemble with her signature pearls, which connected her to her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority days, and this time, instead of her Converse Chuck Taylors, she opted for a pair of chic heels. “Kamala’s look was classic and seemed well thought out. Given her choice of colour scheme in the past, she tends to gravitate towards brighter hues. Also, the warm coat layering was best suited for the cold weather,” says designer Neeta Lulla.  

Kamala’s stepdaughter Ella Emhoff turned heads in a Miu Miu coat (Photo: Agencies)
Kamala’s stepdaughter Ella Emhoff turned heads in a Miu Miu coat (Photo: Agencies)

However, it was Ella Emhoff, her stepdaughter, who turned heads in an embellished, strong-shouldered Miu Miu coat, accented by a floppy collar. Finishing it off with a headband, center-parted hair and a black mask, the textile design student at Parsons School of Design was quite an eclectic dresser. “Ella’s look was youthful and quirky and worked given her artsy background. Having said that, I am not a fan of daytime crystals. Also, a camel hued mask would have upped the look more than the black one she opted for,” says designer Nachiket Barve.  

Former First Lady Michelle Obama too picked a matching marsala overcoat and look by Sergio Hudson comprising a turtleneck, a pair of wide-legged trousers, and a matching belt with a gold circle buckle cinched at her waist. “Michelle looked chic and elegant in her marsala outfit. The long length of the jacket and the statement belt she picked proved that she is a daring dresser and has a great carriage,” quips Neeta.

Dr Jill Biden opted for a Markarian ensemble consisting of a tapered dress with a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt; (right) President Joe Biden was formally dressed. (Photo: Agencies)
Dr Jill Biden opted for a Markarian ensemble consisting of a tapered dress with a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt; (right) President Joe Biden was formally dressed. (Photo: Agencies)

Dr Jill Biden opted for a Markarian ensemble consisting of a tapered dress with a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt. The marine blue was chosen to signify trust, confidence, and stability. “The aqua blue worked well on her and complemented her persona,” says Neeta. 

Hillary Clinton donned a bright purple suit and matching scarf, which she paired with a dark wool coat to keep warm (Photo: Agencies)
Hillary Clinton donned a bright purple suit and matching scarf, which she paired with a dark wool coat to keep warm (Photo: Agencies)

While Hillary Clinton donned a bright purple suit and matching scarf, which she paired with a dark wool coat to keep warm, Laura Bush wore a powder blue coat with a dark lapel over a slate-gray dress and sheer tights for the occasion. “Laura’s new hairstyle was rather fresh and she looked relaxed in the balmy winter sun. The robins egg piece added to her appeal,” says Nachiket.

All in all there was an air  of quiet elegance about the whole affair and most ladies harked back to the ladylike style of Queen Elizabeth. 

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