Washington, (EFE).- The first lady of the United States, Jill Biden, delivered this Wednesday the two dresses that she wore on the day of the presidential inauguration in 2021 to the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian institution in Washington.
Jill Biden wore both outfits to President Joe Biden’s 2021 inauguration, one at the daytime event and the other at the evening celebration.
“These two outfits were a voice for me on one of the most important days of my life. They spoke to the people of the United States then and now they will continue to do so for generations to come, ”Jill Biden claimed at the presentation ceremony at the Smithsonian.
This tradition dates back more than 100 years in which the first lady provides a piece of her wardrobe to the Smithsonian’s collection, which began in 1912.
The daytime outfit, designed by Alexandra O’Neill, founder of Markarian, is made up of an ocean blue tweed wool dress -originally from Scotland-, hand-embellished with pearls and crystals forming floral motifs and a matching coat with velvet cuffs and collar.
When Jill Biden approached O’Neill, she was leading a small, young team: “That’s exactly what I was hoping to find, because a record number of young people voted for Joe, and I wanted to reflect their passion, creativity and hope that day.”
The designer admitted to EFE that “she cannot think” of a moment that marks her career more than this and considers the fact that Jill Biden “used her platform to support an emerging designer with whom other people can identify” as “incredible”. Something close to the “American dream”.
As for the evening outfit, it is a Gabriela Hearst design. It is an ivory silk and wool dress made of “cady” fabric -especially elegant due to its bright and matte tones at the same time- with the federal flowers of each state embroidered on the neck and sleeves as a symbol of unity, as well as the coat matching.
According to the first lady, the two outfits will help tell not just her story, but the common American story “of hope, love and unity.”
Jill Biden said she hopes teachers take their students to see this exhibition so they know “what started on that January day” in 2021. And she also wants them to inspire future generations to take an interest in “women behind the clothes.
The curator of the “First Ladies” exhibition, Lisa Kathleen Graddy, explained to EFE that the show “is not about being a wife”, it is “about who has a role.”
“First Ladies” was created by two women in 1912 who helped make the exhibition today “about a job, not about who you marry,” defended the curator.
The pandemic marked the presidential inauguration ceremony, so the masks worn by Jill Biden at each of the events will also be on display in the collection, something unprecedented in the history of the exhibition.
According to Jill Biden, the addition of this item for the first time to the collection represents the “magnitude” of what was experienced in those times, with moments of “courage” and “resilience.”
It is also the first time that the museum has received two outfits, one for day and one for night.
Covid-19 precautions also made it impossible for the traditional presidential ball to take place. Instead, there was a televised inauguration concert complete with fireworks.
It is not the first time that a presidential couple does not celebrate the inauguration ball, it happened on other occasions such as during the Great Depression or at times of war. This is what happened, for example, to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt or to other presidential couples such as the Wilsons, Hardings, Lou Hoover, Coolidge and Ford.