History was made on April 28 as President Joe Biden took the podium to give his first address to a joint session of Congress. Biden was flanked by two women — Vice President Kamala Devi Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “No president has ever said those words, and it’s about time,” Biden said, after addressing Harris as “Madame Vice President.”
Both Harris and Pelosi were wearing pant suits, with the latter sporting a thin gold brooch in the shape of the Mace of the Republic on her jacket. Harris wore a hand-tailored suit by Nepali American designer Prabal Gurung. The double cream crepe suit with two buttons and an ivory silk charmeuse camisole underneath, as per a tweet by the designer.
Meanwhile, the First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was seen in a navy dress by the Uruguayan-American designer Gabriela Hearst made from upcycled silk wool and embroidered with the flowers of the 50 states of the union.
“By tapping Gurung for this historic occasion, Harris, who is of Indian-Jamaican descent and serves as the first-ever Asian American vice president, wore her support on her sleeve — literally — for the Asian and Asian American communities who have faced increased hate crimes and discrimination in the United States in recent months,” Claudia Miller wrote for Footwear News, a magazine about shoe industry business, trends, runway and street fashion.
Gurung took to Instagram and shared the vice president’s look. “To see Madam Vice President continue to break barriers while wearing a Prabal Gurung ensemble to the Joint Session Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC., fills me with the utmost joy and gratitude,” he wrote. “A fellow child of immigrants and the first-ever female, Black and South Asian Vice President, her vision and tenacity inspire me—a Nepali American, Singaporean-born, Nepal and Indian-raised designer, daily,” he wrote. “Here’s to dreams and manifesting them into reality with the love and support from your community.”
This is the second time the vice president was seen in a Gurung design. She was seen in a purple dress at the Virtual Presidential Inauguration Prayer Service, according to whatkamalawore.com.
Harris is more often than not seen in pant suits. Harris “has adopted an unofficial but also unmistakable working uniform of dark trouser suits in navy, black and gray, most often, though not always, by Joseph Altuzarra, a young American designer,” reported The New York Times. “She pairs the suits with simple shells, often in matching nondescript shades, as well as Manolo Blahnik 70mm pumps and her famous pearls, which trace a direct line back to her sorority at a historically Black college.”
She often choses young, immigrant designers like Gurung or the independent Black designers — Pyer Moss, Christopher John and Sergio Hudson, whose clothes she wore during Inauguration, including a purple dress and coat that merged blue and red.
“It seemed to herald a new age of conscious dress, and a new dawn for the American fashion industry, reeling after four years of an administration that had trampled all political norms, including the tradition of using their clothes as an expression of patriotic duty,” said the Times report. “Not to mention the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with its closures and bankruptcies.”