Fashion of the inauguration

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By Olivia Andrews, Style Sub-editor

The Croft Magazine // Considering we saw the fashion of the inauguration before we heard the proceedings, it is no surprise that the fashion of the inauguration provided so much buzz and visual interest – especially for those pseudo politicians amongst us.

It definitely isn’t the most obvious focal point of the ceremony during these turbulent times, but the sartorial statements of the inauguration undoubtedly occupied a deserving spotlight. At a closer glance, these outfits in the bright block colours spoke on behalf of the wearer, articulating so many unspoken words.

Each key female figure seemed to sport block colours in their dress. Perhaps to stand out in an otherwise dull sea of black and grey winter coats, to ease identification of their represented image in the media.

The most repeated block colour was purple modelled by Kamala Harris, Dr. Jill Biden, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. No doubt a tribute to the Suffragette cause, who have long paved the example of how to successfully exploit fashion as a political weapon. So it seems fitting that so many women of the day paid tribute through their clothing. Purple was one of the three colours that became synonymous with the Suffrage cause. The Suffragettes utilised purple to convey ‘the royal blood that flows in the veins of every Suffragette, the instinct of freedom and dignity’.

Some have also reminded us that purple is the result of the mixing of red and blue, the symbolic colours of the two parties. The purple signifies the harmonisation of the polarised American politics, echoing the rhetoric of Biden’s speech, in a desperate attempt to unify and diffuse the increasing social tensions.

Furthermore, purple has long been associated with notions of peace and serenity alluding to a calmer, more secure future ahead.

Kamala Harris

Many have noted the purple to pay homage to Shirley Chisholm, who made history as the first Black woman elected to Congress, who Harris herself has referred to as a great inspiration for her own career.

Harris herself symbolises the progress of multiple marginalised groups of America, so it is felicitous she chose a synthesis of colours. Purple is also a regal colour which is the perfect selection to reflect the boundaries Harris has broken as the first Black and Asian and female Vice President.

Harris was outfitted by Christopher John Rogers, who has worked with countless inspiring celebrities prior to showcasing his work on arguably the most public stage in the world. Harris selected this designer to celebrate young, Black, queer, American talent.

Her purple coat epitomised simple elegance, to champion herself but not to overshadow the president.

She accessorised with an elegant pearl necklace by Puerto Rican jewellery designer, Wilfredo Rosado. Most famously associated with Elizabeth I, pearls have long had connotations of power, stability and strength. However, these pearls carry personal significance for Harris. The ‘founders of her sorority were known as the “Twenty Pearls”’, as such Harris has since promoted the gemstone at every important event of her life.

The pearl necklace adds the perfect amount of glamour to convey her stylish manner but without appearing too ostentatious.

For the celebrations of the election back in November, Kamala Harris wore a white suit with a pussy-bow neck, which I believe would be naive to dismiss as a mere coincidence in light of Trump’s notoriously controversial p*ssy-grabbing comment. Both Harris and Dr. Biden wore outfits created by immigrant designers, with Harris wearing Carolina Herrera and Biden doting Oscar de la Renta, no doubt to emphatically reject Trump’s anti-immigrant narratives.

Dr. Jill Biden

Teal tweed with a matching dress, gloves and facemask. The blue perfectly complements Joe Biden’s tie, symbolic of the Democratic party. Blue is traditionally associated with feelings of calmness and stability, in the hope of injecting a little bit of hope for the future.

The dress itself was made by Alexandra O’Neill, another celebration of young talent, undeniably to champion the future generation of America.

Her second dress, for the evening, was littered with embroidered flowers to represent every US state to reinforce the message of unity. Gabriela Hearst, the designer has long been an advocate for sustainability in the fashion industry, reflecting with Biden’s reinstatement with The Paris Agreement.

Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama did not disappoint; she was as effortless and elegant as ever. Exhibiting another variation of purple to emphasise the unifying rhetoric. Obama wore the same plum shade as when she left the Whitehouse herself when Biden was the Vice President, to convey the circularity of Biden’s return.

Obama did not let the opportunity to support a young Black designer on the map, wearing an all Sergio Hudson ensemble.

Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman, the youngest ever poet to read at the inauguration, looked radiant in her bright yellow Prada coat. Beaming with positivity offering a brighter future to mirror the message of her poem.

The yellow represented a full-circle moment for Gorman who wore yellow when she was first noticed by Dr. Jill Biden. Gorman quoted Biden’s memory of her poetry performance in 2017, claiming ‘I [Jill Biden] saw this video of you and you were wearing yellow and I loved it’.

Amanda Gorman also wore a ring engraved with a caged bird, gifted to her by Oprah Winfrey as a tribute to previous inaugural poet American poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou’s poem ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’.

Lady Gaga

This bespoke Schiaparelli dress, designed by Daniel Roseberry is the personification of a ‘love letter’ to the US. Adorned with a large broach in the shape of a dove with an olive branch, to express the desire to bring greater peace to America.

Her gown perfectly encapsulated the glory and elegance of the magnitude of the historic day, in true Lady Gaga style.

What was your opinion on the inauguration?

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