A Closer Look at the Best Looks From the Presidential Inauguration

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Joe Biden inauguration 2021 Lady Gaga Schiaparelli
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20: Lady Gaga is escorted by U.S. Marine escort Capt. Evan Campbell to sing the National Anthem at the inauguration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DCPhoto by Win McNamee/Getty Images

From Lady Gaga’s Dove of Peace to Ella Emhoff’s coronation as the First Daughter of Bushwick: here are all the standout ensembles from the 2021 inauguration

Yesterday, Joe Biden was officially sworn into office as the President of the United States. Despite a deadly pandemic, terror threats and several attempted coups, the inauguration went ahead as planned, drawing in guests from across the political spectrum and a host of celebrity performers.

Sartorially, it was a relatively muted affair, defined mostly by tailored coats and monochrome cashmeres. Purple was the colour that dominated the day – a nod, apparently, to a new era of compromise and bipartisanship (mixing the red of the Republicans and the blue of the Democrats). Hope was also a recurring theme, with many guests making subtle references to bright beginnings and blank slates: Lady Gaga’s dove of peace broach being the most overt example. And while the weather may have been limiting, there were still plenty of standout looks – here, we round up some of the best (an honorary mention goes to Bernie Sanders in his Burton coat and handknitted mittens; not included, but never forgotten).

Lady Gaga in Schiaparelli (lead image)

Lady Gaga predictably arrived in one of the boldest looks of the day (though still relatively tame by her standards). The ensemble was Schiaparelli haute couture, and comprised of a navy fitted jacket and opulent red silk skirt. However, the main focus – in some not-so-subtle “new dawn” symbolism – was a giant gilded broach shaped like a dove of peace.

Ella Emhoff in Miu Miu

Kamala Harris’s 21-year-old stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff, has an eye for eclectic fashion: she’s a textile designer herself, and is currently studying at New York’s prestigious Parson’s School of Design. Her Brooklyn art-school aesthetic – defined by its offbeat, colourful knitwear and ironically twee motifs – can be seen clearly on her Instagram account, and has earned her the Twitter-anointed nickname, “first daughter of Bushwick”.

And of course, yesterday, this first daughter of Bushwick lived up to expectations. In an event dominated by buttoned-up traditionalism and block colours, Emhoff stood out – opting for a Miu Miu Shetland Pied De Poule coat with sparkling shoulder embellishments. This was all topped off with a black face mask, John Lennon glasses, and a Loeffler Randall headband over loose curls.

Kamala Harris in Christopher John Rogers

Emhoff’s stepmother – otherwise known as the new Vice President of the United States – played it safer, arriving in a vibrantly purple coat and dress combo. The classic power outfit was designed by Christopher John Rogers, a young, Black and queer designer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Harris topped off the look with a signature pearl necklace; a soft nod to her old college sorority.

Jennifer Lopez in Chanel

Let’s get loud! Jennifer Lopez was also present at this year’s inauguration, radiating regal brilliance in top-to-toe Chanel. The singer wore pearls, ruffled silk and floor-length tweed, as well as some sequined trousers, all in pristine white. It was an angelic turn from Lopez – already an ageless deity – who was an active advocate for the US Latino community during Biden’s campaign trail.

Amanda Gorman in Prada

One of the most moving performances of the day came from young poet laureate Amanda Gorman. The 22-year-old wore a dazzling yellow Prada coat topped off with a statement scarlet headband and sparkling rhinestone face mask. Arriving on stage like a literal ray of sun, Gorman recited a poem emanating hope and optimism. “The new dawn blooms as we free it,” she intoned to an enraptured audience. “There is always light, if only we are brave enough to see it.”

Michelle Obama in Sergio Hudson

The former FLOTUS radiated power in this Sergio Hudson combination. The Black LA-based designer is known for his impeccable tailoring, and this regal purple outfit – made up of a monochrome turtle neck, wide-leg pants, and floor-length coat – was the perfect example. It was finished with some playful 70s twists, including a waist-cinching belt, big blowdry and leather gloves.