Vice President Kamala Devi Harris took her historic oath of office in a rich purple ensemble.
The morning’s first event was a special service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle.Embed from Getty Images
More from The Grio’s coverage:
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The day began with a reach across the aisle after four years of bitter partisan battles under Trump. At Biden’s invitation, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House, joined him at a morning Mass, along with Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leaders. The most powerful figures in Washington, along with their spouses, bowed their heads in prayer in the socially distanced service just a few blocks from the White House.
Then it was off to the Capitol. Below you see Ms. Harris and Mr. Emhoff with the Bidens as they enter the building for the swearing-in ceremonies.
Escorting the Vice President and Second Gentleman today: Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who risked his life as he lured the mob attacking the Capitol away from the Senate chambers. He received a promotion and is now the acting deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms. You see Mr. Goodman in the camel coat below left.
Vice President Harris was administered the oath by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.
More about the bibles used by the Vice President today from Newsweek.
One of the Bibles that will be used is a Harris family heirloom that had been owned by Regina Shelton, an Oakland, California, woman who helped raise the future vice president and her sister Maya. Harris has referred to the woman she calls “Mrs. Shelton” as a second mother and has previously used Shelton’s Bible to take the oaths of office as California attorney general and as U.S. Senator.
We return to the Newsweek piece:
The second Bible belongs to the late civil rights icon and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first Black Supreme Court justice, who served on the court from 1967 until his death in 1993. As a founder and lawyer of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Marshall argued many cases before the Supreme Court, including the landmark 1955 Brown v. Board of Education.
Just after “So help me, God.”
Following the oath, a hug.
And a fist bump for the President.
Then it was time for document signing.
And some chit-chat.
Then it was back outside for the Pass in Review.Embed from Getty Images
From First Coast News:
According to Defense.gov, the Pass In Review historically involves the Military District of Washington commander leading service members in formation down Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Pass in Review is also traditionally when service members will first salute the newly sworn-in commander in chief. Every branch of the military will be represented.
Followed by a trip to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath laying.Embed from Getty Images
On their return from Arlington while in the Parade Across America, the Biden and Harris-Emhoff families walked part of the way to the White House. From left to right: Tony West, husband of Kamala’s sister Maya; Doug Emhoff; the Vice President; Kamala’s great-nieces, Amara and Leela, with one being carried by Meena Harris’s partner, Nikolas Ajagu; Meena Harris (Kamala’s niece); Ella Emhoff; and Cole Emhoff. I do not know the two individuals on the far right, I’m sorry. (If you do, let me know, and I will update the photo info.)
Here is a video of the family along with some other shots.
Late this afternoon, the Vice President presided over Senate proceedings in her new role as president of that body.
We’ll turn to our look at what the Vice President wore.
The Vice President was in designs by Christopher John Rogers.
More about Mr. Rogers, who is from Baton Rouge, via this W magazine story:
Below, Mr Rogers (far left) and others with pieces from the spring/summer 2021 collection.
From the ‘About’ section of the Christopher John Rogers site:
Based in NYC, the Christopher John Rogers brand exists to create emotional & sensitive clothing with a focus on effortful dressing, directed towards an individual with a strong sense of self.
We deliver clothing with an emphasis on quality manufacturing and timeless appeal, whilst encouraging our customer to take up space.
Three looks from the most recent collection.
Mr. Rogers posted on his Instagram about the VP wearing his designs. saying, “Thank you, Madam Vice President. We are so honored and humbled to have played a small part in this historic moment.”
Another view of the VP and the Second Gentleman taken right after the oath was administered.
The Vice President wore Manolo Blahnik heels today, they look like her BB 105 style in black patent leather.
The Vice President’s necklace is by Wilfredo Rosado.
More from Misty White Sidell in her Women’s Wear Daily piece.
The designer launched his brand in 2011 and has created jewelry for women including Mariah Carey, Rihanna and Julia Roberts.
We return to the WWD story.
When designing the necklace, Rosado said he “thought about a woman as the first female vice president elected, who is also a person of color — that’s history. I love her strength, there is a feminine aspect of it that made me want to add a bit of glamour to that moment, so there is a special movement to the necklace.”
Rosado designed a total of three necklaces for the incoming vice president, but the final product is strung with 11.5-mm South Sea pearls — each surrounded by a halo of 18-karat gold — with pearls linked together by small diamonds weighing a total of 0.66 karats. The necklace is fully articulated — it can move and spin about, giving it a certain whimsy.
Here is a look at the necklace.
It is described this way: “The combination of an elliptical link chain necklace with delicate South Sea pearls and brilliant diamonds floating between the links makes for a bold yet feminine statement.” Below, Wilfredo Rosado.
The Vice President’s flag pin is by David Yurman, a New York-based company perhaps best known for its cabled bracelets. She also wore her classic mabe pearl earrings.
A closer view of the pin and earrings.
Dr. Jill Biden wore pieces by Markarian, founded in 2017 by Alexandra O’Neill.Embed from Getty Images
The brand’s merchandise is designed and produced in New York City and the label has a strong commitment to supporting the city’s Garment District. More from a WWD article about the designs.
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His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, on Wednesday chose a Markarian coat with a dark blue velvet collar and cuffs over a tapered dress with a chiffon bodice and scalloped skirt. The neckline of the dress is hand embellished with Swarovski pearls and crystals in a delicate floral pattern. The same Swarovski crystals are used for the coat.
In both cases, the choice of the color blue was selected to signify trust, confidence, and stability, according to Markarian, whose designer Alexandra O’Neill created the look in New York City’s Garment Center and and her studio in Greenwich Village.
Booth Moore reports the reaction from Markarian designer Alexandra O’Neill.
“This is the ultimate. We’ve been working in this straight since late December. We’re a very small team – six people in total. It was all hands on deck.”
Markarian designer Alexandra O’Neill said she didn’t sleep at all Tuesday night, because she was too excited about the prospect of dressing Jill Biden. It wasn’t until Biden stepped out Wednesday morning that she knew her ensemble had been the winning look.
Thoughts about the Vice President design choices today from The Glow Up’s Maiysha Kai:
While the fashion is perhaps the least significant of today’s events, the significance of Harris’ sartorial choices were not lost on those watching today. The elevation of these designers as worthy of dressing Harris as she ascends to the second-highest seat in the country is a statement to not only fashion lovers but the industry at large, long known for sidelining Black talent.
Following Harris’s swearing-in, we’ll be excited to see if she continues the theme of Black designers through the evening’s inauguration festivities. Nevertheless, we’re thrilled the new vice president is beginning her tenure in office by making Black creativity part of her historic moment—and giving our designers a moment, too.
More insight on today’s design choices from Alyssa Bailey and Justine Carreon writing in Elle.
Her choice to support two young Black American designers is significant, ushering in a wave of independent fashion designers into the White House, something lacking during the previous term. Even the color purple is important. To give you a brief lesson in color theory, it’s red and blue combined, symbolizing the unity of our two parties.
Purple is also a color long associated with the suffrage movement. Additional thoughts on today’s styles from Vogue.
Kamala Harris dressed with purpose for the Inauguration. By electing to wear a tailored coat by Christopher John Rogers, and pearls by Wilfredo Rosado, the Vice President communicated her commitment to inclusion—as well as to American design. Rogers, from Louisiana, is a queer Black designer; Rosado was born in New Jersey to Puerto Rican parents.
Harris is America’s first female Vice President, she is also the first person of African and South Asian descent to hold the office. With President Joseph R. Biden, she will lead the most diverse administration the country has ever seen.
Tomorrow I will do a separate post on the looks worn by Doug Emhoff, Ella Emhoff, Meena Harris, Lady Gaga, JLo, poet Amanda Gorman, President Biden, and others.
We’ll leave you with one more photo from today.
UPDATE 10:30 PM
The Vice President changed for her appearance in tonight’s Celebrating America event.Embed from Getty Images
Ms. Harris was wearing Sergio Hudson.
More about tonight’s look from Faran Krentcil’s Harper’s Bazaar story:
Vice President Kamala Harris emerged in her own Sergio Hudson look—a liquid sequin cocktail dress with a floor-length silk tuxedo overcoat, both in inky black—and Irene Neuwirth earrings.
Another view of the Vice President at the Lincoln Memorial tonight.Embed from Getty Images
Back to the Harper’s Bazaar piece:
The dress went through several iterations, including a full-on Inaugural Ball gown, before evolving into a riff on Hudson’s signature silhouette—“a pencil dress, long sleeves, with a strong shoulder”—to reflect the new administration’s unfussy, forward-moving tone.
“We kept the silhouette very structured and tailored, because that’s who the Vice President is,” Hudson says. “But the liquid sequins give her glamour and shine, because her influence and the way she’s broken barriers is a light for so many of us. She shines so we can all shine.”
Here is a video of the Vice President’s portion of the program.
Mr. Hudson is from South Carolina and a winner of Bravo’s fashion competition show Styled To Rock. His collections are designed and produced entirely in Los Angeles. From the brand’s ‘About’ page notes:
Composed of jaw-dropping statement pieces and wardrobe staples, the collections show a masterful use of color and silhouette, making the Hudson woman stand out from the rest. Every garment is carefully designed and crafted to exude power and sexiness, while maintaining elegance and class. When a woman purchases a Sergio Hudson piece she can be assured she is acquiring a show-stopping look made from the best quality materials that will stand the test of time.
Below, three looks from Sergio Hudson’s most recent collection, including the ensemble worn by Michelle Obama today.
The Obamas arriving at today’s ceremony.
The former FLOTUS and VP after today’s swearing-in.
As far as Ms. Harris’s jewelry this evening, this is the best I could do on a screengrab of the Vice President’s Irene Neuwirth earrings. They have hexagon frames with rose or red stones suspended in the center. If guessing, I’d say it’s possible the stones in her earrings are similar to the bicolor tourmalines seen below.
UPDATE JAN 21: Irene Neuwirth has posted more information about the earrings, plus a matching ring, on her site.
The pieces were custom designed by Irene for the occasion and include One of a Kind Earrings set with Hexagon Step Cut Diamonds, Akoya Pearls and Diamond Pave and a One of a Kind Ring set with Square Step Cut Diamond.
And Ms. Neuwirth shared a photo of the earrings on Instagram.
- The full WWD story about Wilfredo Rosado is here.
- In The Root, Jessica Moulite writes about “The Significance of Kamala Harris: Kamala Harris May Reshape How People View the Vice Presidency Forever”
- Bruce C.T. Wright has an in-depth Newsone piece, “Making ‘Herstory’: From DA To DC, Kamala Harris’ Amazing Rise Through The Democratic Ranks”
- Newsone also has the full text of Amanda Gorman’s poem in this story
- Taylor Bryant has a profile of Mr. Hudson in this Nylon piece, “Sergio Hudson Wants to be the Next Great American Brand”
- A Vogue piece, “Wilfredo Rosado’s New Fine Jewelry Line Improves on the Pearl Necklace”