On Wednesday, Kamala Harris became the first female, first Black and first South Asian Vice President of the U.S. And she took the oath of office wearing a prominent Black American designer.
Harris wore head-to-toe purple, by Christopher John Rogers. According to the New York Times‘s Vanessa Friedman, she will change into a Sergio Hudson look later in the day. (Michelle Obama was outfitted by Hudson for the Presidential Inauguration.) She accessorized with her signature pearls — a necklace by Wilfredo Rosado. Rumor has it she was styled by Karla Welch.
Meanwhile, her husband, Doug Emhoff — who today became the country’s first Second Gentleman — wore a suit by Ralph Lauren.
Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, the President-elect, Vice President-elect and their partners joined Congressional leaders for a service at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. Later on, Biden and Harris took the oath office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.
The color of her ensemble drew a lot of attention. On the one hand, purple is seen as a call for unity, the marriage of red and blue. (Hillary Clinton wore purple to deliver her concession speech in 2016.) According to CNN’s live broadcast, though, the meaning has a deeper significance for the Vice President: During her Presidential campaign, Harris chose purple as one of her official colors as a nod to Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black candidate for President on a major political party ticket.
On Instagram, Rogers — who in 2020 won the CFDA Award for American Emerging Designer of the Year, after winning the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund the year prior — wrote on Instagram: “Thank you, Madam Vice President. We are so honored and humbled to have played a small part in this historic moment.”
Rosado, a New York-based Puerto Rican jeweler, told WWD that the custom necklace he created for the Vice President was meant “to represent toughness and also fashion in a way. It looks very classic in terms of execution but when you see it in person and the movement, it’s very glamorous but still tough. It’s a bold necklace, not a classic string of pearls.”
“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,” he added.