Pearls, purple and American designers mark a new US administration

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The United States’ peaceful transition of power included a spotlight on fashion on Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in at the US Capitol, both sporting American designers.

Harris, the first woman, the first Black person and the first Asian American to hold the office, chose Black designers for the historic moment.

At the Capitol she wore a mid-length purple coat and matching dress from New York-based designer Christopher John Rogers. On Wednesday evening, she is set to wear an outfit from Los Angeles-based Sergio Hudson.

“Thank you, Madam Vice President. We are so honored and humbled to have played a small part in this historic moment,” Rogers posted on Instagram.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former first lady Michelle Obama joined Harris in wearing shades of purple – a color of the American women’s suffrage movement, but also one that many observers interpreted as a symbol of unity between the Democrat “blue states” and Republican “red states” of the country, a theme of the ceremony.

First lady Jill Biden wore an ocean blue dress and overcoat embellished with Swarovski pearls and crystals by Alexandra O’Neill from New York label Markarian. The color was chosen “to signify trust, confidence, and stability,” the designer said. To fight the COVID-19 pandemic her outfit included a matching silk face mask.

Both Biden and Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff wore suits by classic American designer Ralph Lauren, who also outfits the US Olympic teams. “Now is the time to come together with love and understanding,” Lauren wrote on Twitter.

Harris completed her look with her signature pearls, which observers say is a nod to sisterhood and her membership of Alpha Kappa Alpha – the first black Greek-letter sorority – at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

The sorority and a Facebook group with more than 450,000 members urged women to wear pearls on Wednesday to celebrate the first female US Vice President.

Lady Gaga performed the national anthem in a dress by French label Schiaparelli, which is led by Texan Daniel Roseberry, highlighted by a giant gold dove brooch.

“A dove carrying an olive branch. May we all make peace with each other,” the entertainer wrote on Twitter.

Senator Bernie Sanders made a fashion statement of a different sort, in a casual coat with massive, striped wooly mittens.