Kamala Harris turns pearls into a political “it-piece”
| Reading time: 4 minutes
In bright purple and with a pearl necklace, Kamala Harris has assumed the office of Vice President. Her look expresses that the otherwise simply dressed politician will use fashion for herself – although that has already gone wrong.
Nof course she wore pearls. More precisely: South Sea pearls as big as marbles, each one framed by delicate rings made of 18-carat gold and connected by tiny diamonds. Kamala Harris loves and regularly wears pearls, a hallmark of her sisterhood from college days. And thousands of women in the US – many of them members of a Facebook group called “Wear Pearls on Jan 202021” – followed suit on the occasion of her inauguration.
They stand united behind Harris, who has already made US history as the first woman and first Asia-American in the office of Vice President. The politician wore a purple dress and a matching coat, designed by the Afro-American designer Christopher John Rogers, with the pearl necklace. These are details that should play a subordinate role in view of her office and the mammoth tasks ahead, which are otherwise mainly discussed in connection with a first lady.
But Harris already outshines Jill Biden, not only because the matt petrol tone of the Biden look faded next to the strong purple. She is the Vice President, the second most powerful person in the country, she is allowed to get involved beyond interior design and charity events. But as such, and as a woman too, now more than ever she has to master the rules of the game in which fashion is no longer a minor matter.
Most of her appearances often suggested that she didn’t really like it – or at least meant little. The suits are black, gray or blue, the shoes sporty and the necklines modest. But the inauguration showed that Harris, otherwise seriously dressed, knows that what she wears means something. Christopher John Rogers is an aspiring young designer from New York, celebrated for his often theatrical and drama-loving evening dresses. Like Harris, because of his skin color, he stands for a new era in the USA, in which previously suppressed voices are finally heard and noticed.
The appearance in the design of a US designer is always a patriotic act in the context of the White House, which is expected above all from the first lady – Jill Biden accordingly wore the look of a young New York label called Markarian, US President, at the inauguration Joe Biden chose a suit from the all-American designer Ralph Lauren.
So much devotion to “local heroes” was also noticed because the Trump family had long been used to other things. Melania Trump also wore Ralph Lauren when her husband was inaugurated, but numerous of her subsequent appearances proved time and again that she did not want to bow to political style etiquette: Much more than local fashion designers, she wore Chanel, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana – from The latter label also likes a coat worth 51,000 US dollars.
Kamala Harris will not exemplify demonstrative lust for the glamor of the presidency. Your job is different and so is your character. But she is up for good pictures: A video of the newly elected Vice President in running leggings and Nike longsleeve, beaming with joy on the mobile phone, reporting to her boss about the election won, caused a first viral moment. A few hours later, she appeared in front of the cameras in a white pant suit – a sign of solidarity with the suffragette movement, which is associated with the color white and which in 2016 already inspired Hillary Clinton to wear a white pant suit when accepting her presidential candidacy .
Where Hillary Clinton and her colorful “Power Suits” stood for ambition and zest for action, where Melania Trump’s high heels revealed unpredictability, Harris wants to express down-to-earthness and authenticity. During the election campaign she traveled through the USA in Converse sneakers, her pearls as elegant but discreet companions always on her neck. The necklace she wore during her inauguration was designed by a jewelry designer and former Armani employee named Wilfredo Rosado, who is now likely to have long waiting lists for his pieces.
Politicians also create “it pieces”, they are always marketing in the USA, and the Harris brand is working hard on the right positioning. The image campaign can still go wrong: The recently published US “Vogue” cover with Kamala Harris in Chucks caused a shitstorm of unexpected proportions, the casual appearance was interpreted as disrespect for a vice president who did not honor a glossy magazine what she deserved – maybe even because of, so the charge, her skin color?
The drama, which even induced the editors of the magazine to print a special edition with a “more presidential” alternative cover, did more damage to “Vogue” than to the vice-president. This has long been busy with more important matters. And maybe also with your next stylist appointment.
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