When Kamala Harris and Jill Biden chose their inauguration day outfits, they clearly understood the importance of making powerful style statements. Vice President Harris’s purple coat by young Black American designer Christopher John Rogers and Dr. Biden’s ensemble, by rising brand Markarian, gave a much-needed boost to the U.S. fashion industry and spotlighted young, diverse and independent talents.
But when it came to their shoes, both women went with tried-and-true British luxury labels — Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. (The latter is owned by American powerhouse Capri Holdings.)
Harris wore one of Blahnik’s most iconic styles, the BB pump, as she took the oath of office on the steps of the capitol.
“Words cannot express how delighted I am that Madam Vice President Kamala Harris wore Manolos on such a momentous day. It is an honor and a privilege,” the designer said today.
Last night, she paired Blahnik’s Pascalare boots with her Pyer Moss camel coat for the solemn ceremony remembering coronavirus victims.
Biden, meanwhile, wore not one, but two pairs of Jimmy Choo heels today, after donning the label yesterday as well. For a church service and her arrival to the inauguration, the first lady wore the brand’s nude Love pump — but when she walked down the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Biden stood out in Romy pump, which matched her ocean blue dress and coat.
While it would have been meaningful for the women to wear American brands on their feet too (Michelle Obama chose Stuart Weitzman, for example), there are a couple of important reasons why Blahnik and Choo are front and center.
On such a momentous day, when there is a lot of walking and many stairs involved, shoe choices are important. Blahnik and Choo have spent decades perfecting their pumps — and Harris and Biden, like many women, probably just feel most comfortable in these brands. Harris, who is more known for her sneaker style, also wore Blahnik for her victory speech on Nov. 7, and Biden, like Obama before her, has chosen Choo for many important occasions. (Melania Trump has been a loyal Louboutin wearer, but she also donned Blahnik frequently.)
Another notable takeaway? While there is definite momentum around young, socially-conscious American ready-to-wear designers, it’s been harder for emerging shoe names to break through. And often, they focus on fashion-forward styles first (differentiation is key when you’re new) and the core offering second.
But as an exciting new chapter begins to unfold, there’s opportunity ahead. While the country’s new women in power might have gone with tried-and-true shoe choices today, they have made it clear that they want to embrace the future of fashion, and American fashion specifically.
Click through the gallery for more major style moments from inauguration day.