The Fashion of Hope

by Isabelle Rust

I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when Trump left the White House early on Wednesday morning with everyone singing along with James Corden, ‘One Day More’ on Tuesday before the inauguration. The ceremony was by no means normal with the 45th president acting like a sore loser swanning off to Florida and the social distancing disallowing the normal crowds who flock to watch the service on the National Mall. However, the fashion of all who attended was an almost red-carpet moment for us all. Since we have missed out on such events over the last year, the outfits on display on the Capitol balcony were mesmerising. We all realised what fashion was again along with the feeling of hope and new beginnings.

There were various colours of outfits on show, but the most noticeable colour was purple. The purple outfits represented something much deeper than just a colour since it was the combination of red and blue, Republicans and Democrats, coming together to heal the countries divide, to make purple and unite. Purple is also symbolic in another sense because it represents the suffragette movement, a nod to the previous women paving the way in becoming one of the ‘firsts’ into university or even being allowed onto a bus. All these heroic moments have lead to the incredible occassion of Kamala Harris being sworn in as the first female Vice President. Purple truly represented a sense of union, regality and bipartisanship.

The main item of clothing on the stage that has had the most interest from us globally were the coats. Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and Michelle Obama all wore ankle-length coats. Kamala’s seemlessly stunning coat and dress was designed by Christopher John Rogers, an LGBT black designer who is known for styling A-list celebrities such as Rihanna and Pharrell Williams. Christopher made no exception with Kamala’s outfit, allowing her to clearly demonstrate the direction she is taking her new role in - exhibiting inclusivity for all groups in society. Jill Biden wore a similar coat paired with a dress too but with different detailing and in a shade of blue. Jill’s wrap coat and dress was designed by Jonathan Cohen, a New York based fashion designer. It is believed that both Kamala and Jill will champion smaller, lesser-known brands from the US to promote and support individuals from their own country. Michelle Obama also looked flawless in her purple suit, paired with an ankle-length coat and a gold detailed belt. Her outfit was design by Sergio Hudson who produces all his garments in LA and New York, known for simplistic sleek designs. It is clear that the three women of the moment delivered feminine glamour and a clear American message in all their outfit choices. Their fashion was inexplicitly a message of hope to all.

The four Biden grandchildren didn’t disappoint with their outfits either. The pink outfit worn by Natalie was a favourite of mine where the same material used in her dress was also used for her face mask. Having truly expected the best footwear to be from Lady Gaga or JLo, there was an unexpected contender when it was noticed that some Dior 1s were being worn in the background of Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s speech. These are now known to be owned by Kamala Harris’s nephew in-law, endorsing my growing obsession with the family. Another fashion accessory everyone seemed to admire is the Prada headband worn by Amanda Gorman. Headbands were starting to phase out after the 2019 trend, but it is clear that Amanda has brought them back. Her satin red band appeared so striking against her yellow coat as she read ‘The Hill We Climb’ causing Prada to sell out of the headband, in all colours, since her appearance on Wednesday.

The fashion statements made on Wednesday were a clear departure from the ex-First Lady Melania's choices as she often refused to support smaller labels. However, some of the large fashion houses that were a strong preference for her refused to dress her. World-renowned designers such as Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Derek Lam refused to fit her, taking a political stance showing their distrust towards the Trump presidency. But truly, who could forget the ‘I Really Don’t Care, Do You?’ coat she wore in 2018 when visiting a migrant child detention centre. From that incident alone I think it’s best we leave her fashion choices in the past and move on.

It is clear that the outfits from the inauguration were closely noted, putting a premium on American fashion labels. Having said of all this, Bernie Sanders and his mittens made my week more than anyone else. The memes produced from his seemingly dreary demeanour and style on the day have been iconic, so here are a few of my favourites...

Now finally, if you have coat envy like me after seeing all of these outfits from Wednesday, I have found some great statement pieces that could tempt you. This first coat is definitely on the pricey side, (something maybe more to look at than buy) but I just had to put it in. Moda Operandi's wool double-breasted red coat, priced at £2,038.

Another coat much more reasonably priced is H&M’s wool long line trench coat, priced at £85.

And finally, my third dreamy choice is from Never Fully Dressed, a long oversized white coat, priced at £89.