It’s all in the embroidery.
Typically, the day’s worth of celebrations that welcome a new President of the United States into office would end in an Inaugural Ball. However, amid a global pandemic, the Biden/Harris administration opted for a virtual primetime program to be broadcast across the country, titled “Celebrating America,” featuring speeches, performances and, yes, outfit changes.
Once again, we saw small, independent labels in the spotlight on a historic day in Washington, D.C. Hearst, who was recently named creative director of French fashion house Chloé, is an Uruguayan designer (and new American citizen). Her namesake line has been heralded for its emphasis on sustainability in the luxury space, and has been worn by Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, Angelina Jolie and many other prominent figures — including Dr. Biden, on multiple occasions.
Hearst’s relationship with Dr. Biden goes way back: The CFDA Award-winning designer participated in virtual events and designed a T-shirt for the Biden campaign, while the newly-minted FLOTUS re-wore one of her dresses to a debate in September. Her brand was among the names speculated to dress Dr. Biden on Inauguration Day.
So perhaps it wasn’t that surprising when Dr. Biden stepped out onto the Truman Balcony of the White House wearing an ivory cashmere coat with floral embroidery and a matching mask, credited to Hearst.
It’s not just a pretty detail, either — the design actually carries great symbolism: The embroidery on the coat and dress underneath represent the federal flowers from every state and territory in the U.S., according to a press release from the brand.
On Instagram, the designer offered more context, as well as a closer look at the pieces themselves.
“The message of Unity is the main inspiration for the creation of the Ensemble,” Hearst wrote. “Unity makes strength and it is needed for the road ahead. The blooming symbol to represent this message are the federal flowers from every state and territory of the United States of America. The flowers are embroidered into the cashmere coat on the hem line in an pattern that rises organically on the side’s seams. On the dress, the embroidery is placed on the silk organza neckline and arms.
“The Delaware flower is positioned at the heart level of The First Lady, from there, all the other flowers branch out,” she continued. “The pieces were made entirely in New York City. The Embroidery and Coat were crafted in the garment district and the dress was assembled at the in-house studio. Each flower took approximately two-four hours to embroider. Careful placements and color selections were carefully studied for weeks. Inside of the coat, representing the lifelong calling and service of Dr. Biden as an educator, is a hand embroidery on the lining with a quote from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.'”
Another important detail to note: The look was made with fabrics the brand already had.
Hearst posted an image of Dr. Biden with President Joe Biden on the Truman Balcony on Instagram, with the caption, “Grateful for the honor to serve our friend, America’s friend and First Lady.”