As far as world events go, presidential inaugurations are up there with the most thrilling of them all. And after four years of Trump’s presidency – and a subsequent coup – Joe Biden’s could not have come soon enough. But he’s not the only player in his presidency, as Vice President, Kamala Harris, was sworn in at the same time. And it was the moment at which his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, officially assumed her role as First Lady. But aside from proximity to the President, what else did these two women have in common at various stages of the inauguration? Purple coats.
On the eve of the inauguration, both chose to wear emerging designers. Alongside her signature pearls, Harris opted for a camel coat by Pyer Moss. Right down to her gloves, Dr. Biden’s ensemble – designed by Jonathan Cohen – was purple. At the actual inauguration, it was the Vice President’s turn to wear purple. And she did so in a tailored coat by Christopher John Rogers.
So what does purple signify in this context? For a start, purple is one of the colours of the women’s suffrage movement. It’s also a mix of red and blue which, despite seeming obvious, actually symbolises unity – something America is in dire need of. Indeed, swing states are often referred to as ‘purple’.
For Susanna Merrick, an NYC-based stylist who dresses clients based on their auras, “the colour purple itself has a lot of significance to Vice President Kamala.” As well as being one of her campaign colours (alongside yellow), it’s also “her ode to Shirley Chisolm [who famously wore purple throughout her presidential campaign]”, the first Black woman to run for president in 1972. “But, it also – in a sense of the aura and energy – is a colour that really is about vision and higher connection [and] manifestation,” she says. “Ultimately, this colour is here to serve a really beautiful and powerful message and purpose.”
"There is no doubt in my mind that she picked this colour strategically," Merrick says. In terms of auras, purple is “generally around those getting ready to step into real, strong purpose. It represents care and love and compassion for humanity,” she adds. “It is such a significant colour for her to choose, in this really beautiful way.” And if that’s not testament to purple’s power, what is?