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Bold, bright and breaking stereotypes

Fashion at the US president’s inauguration brought in striking colours. B’luru designers talk about the hits and misses of the event

Published: 23rd January 2021 06:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2021 06:50 AM   |  A+A-

Kamala Harris and Doug Emhoff

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have taken oath as the new leaders of the United States of America and the inauguration was a much talked-about affair. While the guest line-up of the Obamas, Clintons and Bushes stole the show, the coats that the ladies donned also caught everyone’s eye. Be it Harris’ purple coat or Michelle Obama’s plum one, power dressing was clearly the buzz word for the day. City designers and stylists say these bold colours and statement jewellery are an indicator of the changes that are coming to the system.

Fashion guru Prasad Bidapa says the funniest story he heard about the inauguration was a request sent from Chennai to Kamala Harris asking her to wear a sari for the inauguration. “No effort was too much in trying to establish Kamala’s Indian-ness. I knew for certain that she was going to wear a complete Middle American look in a blue power suit, which would go well with the American flag.

Her ultramarine choice was safe and predictable, just the way she wants to be portrayed,” says Bidapa, adding that First Lady Jill Biden’s powder blue outfit was another safe choice. However, there were also some who didn’t make it to Bidapa’s best dressed list. “The prize for funniest outfit has to be reserved for Lady Gaga, whose Mad Queen look was straight out of Alice In Wonderland. What was she thinking?,” he exclaims. 

Designer Husna Sait believes the colours were not just bold, bright and unconventional, they were also a display of patriarchy being smashed. “Amanda Gorman, the 21-year-old who read poetry out loud, was a wearing a yellow suit that radiated positivity, though it was an unconventional colour to pick for such a big occasion,” says Sait. She goes on to add that these colours might soon make their way into an Indian wardrobe as well. “Our traditional colours have always been bright and these colours go well with the Indian skin tone too,” says Sait. 

If coats had their day, it was also because of the statement jewellery they were paired with. While Harris wore a pearl necklace, Michelle Obama complemented her look with a gold chunky belt, and Lady Gaga opted for a gold brooch. “The minute you wear a bold piece, it sets the whole look apart. Even if you repeat your outfit, the accessory is what will stand out,” says city-based jewellery designer Pallavi Foley. She adds, “Even if it is just a pearl necklace, it gives out the message, ‘I am enough’.”



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