Kamala Harris showcased American designers at the inauguration Wednesday and gave a nod to women’s suffrage, Shirley Chisholm and beloved sorority of students in pearls.
Pearls has a strong fashion show, along with a social media campaign where inauguration watchers wear strands to support and celebrate Harris.
Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat, wore Chisholm’s own pearl necklace. It was a gift from Chisholm’s goddaughter.
“Because of Shirley Chisholm, I exist,” Lee, who is Black, posted on Twitter. “Because Shirley Chisholm, Vice President Harris is.”
Harris cites Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, as inspiration for his career. Chisholm is the first black woman to be elected to Congress and the first major black party candidate to run for president.
The pearl that Harris wore, by Wilfredo Rosado, was a symbol of union with his sister at Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first African-American Greek alphabet student association, said Rachel Torgerson, director of fashion features for Cosmopolitan. The founders of this student association were referred to as “Twenty Pearls”. Each new member receives a badge decorated with 20 pearls.
“There is no doubt that every part of his performance today shows who he is, where he’s come from and where he hopes to lead the country. “Every piece is carefully considered and packed with meaning,” said Torgerson.
Purple is today’s color with Harris, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush wearing purple.
Harris wore a tailored purple dress and a coat ensemble from black designer Christopher John Rogers. Later in the evening she wore a black sequin cocktail dress with a black tuxedo coat by Sergio Hudson for the TV special “Celebrate America” which replaced the Inaugural Ball, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both are black designers.
Rogers, just 25 years old, maintained a full-time job as a designer at Diane von Furstenberg while running his own label with a small team in his Bushwick, Brooklyn apartment, until last January, when he gathered enough resources to open a studio in Soho. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and was named 2020 CFDA American Emerging Designer of the Year by Vogue.
Michelle Obama, a fashion icon, won praise from fans on social media for her plum strapless trouser suit, as well as by Hudson. The LA-based South Carolina native has now dressed the former first lady three times. Hudson launched is a ready-to-wear namesake collection in 2014.
Véronique Hyland, director of fashion features for Elle magazine, recorded a win for young American designers.
“They choose a diverse talent group. It becomes a meaningful statement at this time, when all small businesses, including the fashion business, need support and attention, “he said.
Harris’s choice to wear clothing by a black designer “feels immensely important in light of her historic triple title as our country’s first black and Asian female vice president of American descent,” added Hyland.
As for the purple color is a symbol of unity and bipartisan. Republican red and Democratic blue make purple.
“If there is any message to take away from today’s inauguration style, it is that those present signify faith in unity and bipartisanism, and restore truth and belief,” Torgerson said.
Hillary Clinton confirmed she was wearing “purple with purpose,” telling The Associated Press: “I just wanted to send a little symbolic message that we need to come together.”