Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first female vice president of the US today - and she made sure to make a bold fashion statement when doing so.
The 56-year-old - who is the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to hold the role - chose to honour a Black designer, Christopher John Rogers, for the inauguration ceremony.
She swapped her pantsuits and Converse sneakers for a brilliant purple dress and coat by Rogers, pairing it with a black face mask.
Kamala wasn’t alone in choosing a purple hue for the day, with former first lady, Michelle Obama, arriving in a head-to-toe Sergio Hudson purple outfit for the occasion and former presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton, arriving in a deep purple pantsuit by Ralph Lauren.
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The former secretary of state noted in her 2017 memoir What Happened while reflecting on the election she lost to former President Trump. “The morning after the election, Bill and I both wore purple. It was a nod to bipartisanship (blue plus red equals purple).”
For that 2016 concession speech, Clinton wore a purple-and-grey pantsuit (also by Ralph Lauren), matching with husband Bill’s purple tie.
People online believe there’s a significant reason why all three women of prominence chose the colour for such a momentous occasion.
According to many, the colour represents bipartisanship and America coming together because combining red (colour of the Republican party) and blue (colour of the Democratic party) make purple.
“I'm no fashion expert, but I always read purple as a nod to bipartisanship and unity (the theme of the day) since, you know, red + blue = purple. #InaugurationDay”
“So much purple at the Inauguration. If you think back to crayons, it’s a beautiful blend of red and blue. Today let’s not be red and blue, Democrats or Republicans. Let’s just be Americans,” another said.
CNN anchor Abby Phillip, pointed out that Kamala Harris has often worn the colour through the Biden, Harris campaign trail, as a nod to Shirley Chisholm, who was the first Black woman to run for president in 1972 and used the colour on her flyers.
Purple is also one of the official colours of the suffragist movement, which resulted in the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensuring women the right to vote, and historically associated with royalty.
The Vice President will wear a dress and coat from another Black designer, Sergio Hudson, later in the day. Hudson is a South Carolina native based in New York City, and is also responsible for former first lady Michelle Obama’s striking magenta ensemble.
Meanwhile, the first lady made a splash in an ocean blue wool tweed coat and dress set custom-made for her by Markarian, the New York City-based label founded by designer Alexandra O’Neill.
Paired, in light of the pandemic, with a matching silk face mask, the outfit is hand-embellished with Swarovski pearls and crystals in a subtle floral pattern. While her coat also has a dark blue velvet collar, her tapered dress features a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt.
According to a press release from Markarian, the vibrant ocean blue hue is intended to “signify trust, confidence and stability.” She wore matching gloves and nude heels.
People online saw the significance in Kamala Harris and Jill Biden’s outfits, with one person writing: “Kamala Harris and Jill Biden are both wearing outfits designed by American designers! Thank you, it’s great to have America recognized again.”
With extra reporting by Erin Donnelly and Elise Solé
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