President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden departed their hometown of Wilmington, Delaware yesterday, arriving in Washington D.C. on Tuesday afternoon ahead of today’s presidential inauguration.
For her first appearance at an inauguration event in the capital, Dr Biden chose a tonal purple ensemble consisting of a regal purple coat tied with a velvet ribbon at the waist, lavender leather gloves and a patterned purple face mask.
The Bidens are inheriting a divided, damaged and Covid-wracked nation following President Trump’s departure, and with their early mission centred on healing the political and social divide across America (with the theme of tonight’s inauguration “America United”), the choice of purple – a blend of Republican Red and Democratic blue – is surely an example of the gentle sartorial messaging at which the university professor so excels.
Dr Biden’s violet wrap coat and panelled dress were both from New York-based fashion designer Jonathan Cohen’s upcoming autumn 2021 collection, and are currently available for pre-order. In championing an independent, lesser known label, Biden may well be signalling her intent to support up-and-coming American talent while she is in the White House, something her close friend Michelle Obama made a point of doing in her eight-year tenure.
Biden’s mask meanwhile comes from a capsule of Cohen’s pieces made from upcycled fabric called The Studio, which the designer launched in 2019. Cohen was early to the upcycling trend that’s now so popular in fashion, and the lining of Dr. Biden’s coat is also made from upcycled fabrics from previous collections. In championing sustainable fashion, Dr. Biden subtly underlined support for her husband’s climate change manifesto.
Whether Dr Biden will choose an emerging designer or a more established label for tonight’s inauguration remains to be seen, but her support yesterday for an emerging, eco-conscious label was thoughtful in a year where smaller fashion brands have suffered so much.
If there is such thing as sartorial kindness, that was arguably it.