Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol for President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony. Picture: Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via REUTERS
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama arrive in the Crypt of the U.S. Capitol for President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony. Picture: Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via REUTERS

From Michelle to Kamala, here’s a guide to the fab coats at the inauguration

By The Washington Post Time of article published Jan 21, 2021

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By Ashley Fetters

On a chilly Wednesday in January, during a pandemic that's forced Americans to wear masks obscuring their faces, the most high-profile attendees at the inauguration of the 46th president knew their outerwear would have to send the messages that their faces couldn't.

Several of them, including the incoming first lady and vice-president, rose to the occasion.

Here's a guide to the inauguration coats.

Michelle Obama's maximalist Sergio Hudson

Another of several women in politics wearing purple at the inauguration, the former first lady wore a dramatic long overcoat in a warm burgundy shade, designed by Sergio Hudson, a black designer from South Carolina.

The coat, alongside the rest of the Obamas' sartorial choices, inspired “Grey's Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes to tweet praise.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama arrive before the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. Picture: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool

Kamala Harris's blue-purple Christopher John Rogers

Vice-President Harris's outerwear, designed by rising-star black designer Christopher John Rogers, is also a continuation of a tradition she upheld during her presidential campaign: wearing purple in honour of the colour of campaign flyers used by Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to run for president in the US, according to CNN's Abby Phillip. (Harris took colour cues from Chisholm in other ways, too, adopting red and yellow as presidential-campaign colours in a nod to Chisholm having used them on buttons, the Guardian reported.)

Harris also wore pearls, as she often does to honour her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, which refers to its founders as the "Twenty Pearls."

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris stands with husband Doug Emhoff as she takes the oath of office Wednesday. Picture: Washington Post/Jonathan Newton

Jill Biden's sophisticated Markarian tweed

The first lady's ensemble is designed by Alexandra O'Neill's sustainability-focused label Markarian. Many found its bright teal colour – in two complementary shades, with matching gloves and mask – striking in the good way:

Others had flashbacks to another recent television event with notably lavish outerwear.

U.S. President Joe Biden arrives with his wife Jill Biden for his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2021. Picture: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Pool

Poet Amanda Gorman's commanding yellow Prada

Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem, but 22-year-old inaugural poet Amanda Gorman had the real “A Star Is Born” moment, not just for her incisive verses but that amazing bright yellow Prada coat.

It was her nod to Jill Biden, who had recommended her for the honour of being the youngest poet to write and recite an original poem at an inaugural. "(Jill Biden) said: “I saw this video of you and you were wearing yellow and I loved it,'" Gorman told Vogue.

American poet Amanda Gorman reads a poem during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington January 20, 2021. Picture: Patrick Semansky/Pool via Reuters

Ella Emhoff's Miu Miu top coat

Emhoff, the daughter of second gentleman Doug Emhoff, stepdaughter of Harris and a textile-design student at the Parsons School of Design in New York City, garnered many a heart-eye emoji with her beige Miu Miu Shetland Pied De Poule coat adorned with gold at the shoulders.

Some wondered if it ushered in the age of be-sequined shoulders.

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