Federal flowers from every state, territory and the District of Columbia were represented in the repurposed design the First Lady wore to President Biden's joint address to Congress

By Hanna Flanagan
April 29, 2021 01:08 PM
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Jill Biden

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden chose sustainable fashion for President Joe Biden's first address to Congress on Wednesday night.

Dr. Biden arrived at the Capitol in an upcycled version of the white Gabriela Hearst dress she wore on inauguration night earlier this year. Just like the white dress, federal flowers from every state and territory were included and according to the press release, the repurposed navy garment also included the flower of the District of Columbia.

On Thursday morning, Hearst shared more details about the look on Instagram, adding that it was "an honor" to see Dr. Biden sporting her design. 

"The Silk Wool dress ( and mask) was made entirely of existing fabrics. Made and embroidered in New York. It was originally used to fit the inauguration one. The First Lady requested to salvage for another occasion. Double repurposed. New is not always better.."

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris' outfit also held special significance. Harris chose a cream-colored Prabal Gurung suit and satin camisole, which seemingly reflected Biden's note that Americans are "choosing light over darkness."

Gurung, a Nepali immigrant and a favorite designer of former First Lady Michelle Obama, posted photos of the Vice President in his design on his Instagram Story, writing "Yes to matriarchal power. Madame VP in PG."

Kamala Harris
Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty

"To see Madam Vice President continue to break barriers while wearing a Prabal Gurung ensemble to the Joint Session Congress at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC., fills me with the utmost joy and gratitude," the designer wrote on Instagram. "A fellow child of immigrants and the first-ever female, Black and South Asian Vice President, her vision and tenacity inspire me—a Nepali American, Singaporean-born, Nepal and Indian-raised designer, daily."

Gurung continued, "I am so honoured to be part of this historical moment and am humbled by the visibility and re-energised in my mission to advocate for representation and create better paths for the future."

Harris also chose a Prabal Gurung look to wear on her first day in office. She donned a maroon wool crepe dress with a matching tailored coat for the Inaugural prayer service held on Jan. 21.

Biden's speech, in which a president was flanked by two women on the dais for the first time, opened with him acknowledging the moment.

"Madam Speaker. Madam Vice President. No president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words. And it's about time," he said.

Appearing on MSNBC earlier Wednesday, Pelosi concurred: "It's pretty exciting. And it's wonderful to make history. It's about time," said on Andrea Mitchell Reports. "I made history when I was the first speaker to be standing behind President Bush. And he made note of that. Now this is just so exciting."

Ahead of Biden's speech — in which he outlined how he said his administration was getting "America moving" through the COVID-19 pandemic and other problems — Democratic women in Congress spoke to USA Today about what they called the importance of the women seated behind Biden.

When inaugurated in January, Harris, 56, became the first woman vice president, as well as the first Black person and first person of Asian descent to hold the office.