All eyes were on the Bidens when they departed Wilmington, Del., and arrived in Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon ahead of the presidential inauguration on Wednesday.
After an emotional farewell speech in their hometown, the incoming president and first lady touched down at Andrews Air Force Base shortly before 5 p.m. with plans to make their first stop the Lincoln Memorial, to pay respects to those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
For their first appearance in the capital for the inauguration events, President-elect Joe Biden wore a long navy blue overcoat, pale blue shirt and tie, and Jill Biden chose a tonal purple ensemble, including a coat tied with a velvet ribbon, matching gloves and mask.
The look was created by New York-based independent designer Jonathan Cohen, and could signal Biden’s intent to support young fashion talent during her time as first lady — and perhaps embrace more sustainable fashion practices.
Cohen grew up in La Jolla, Calif., the beachside town near San Diego, and launched his collection in 2011. He was early to the upcycling trend in fashion that has become more widespread as sustainability has become a key focus for brands. He introduced a capsule of upcycled pieces called The Studio in 2019 and has continued to work with leftover materials as part of his output since.
Biden’s unity wrap coat with velvet tie and unity paneled dress are part of the brand’s upcoming fall 2021 collection. The mask is from The Studio. The mask as well as the lining of the garments are upcycled fabrics from past collections, a representative for the brand confirmed. Cohen declined comment.
Biden has gravitated toward American designers in the past, wearing dresses by Gabriela Hearst and Oscar de la Renta’s Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia for key moments during the campaign.
Cohen is a lesser-known name, and Biden putting the spotlight on him comes at a critical time for independent designers, who have experienced steep business declines during the pandemic.
For those who like to parse these things, the ultraviolet color has long been associated with non-conformity and experimentation, and has a meditative quality. It also represents unity and common ground between red and blue. The theme of President-elect Biden’s inauguration is “America United.”