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Jill Biden's evening inauguration look makes a powerful statement of unity

The first lady chose this look for a specific reason.
The Biden family posed in front of the Lincoln Memorial at the "Celebrating America" event on Jan. 20.JOSHUA ROBERTS / AFP via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

The evening of a presidential inauguration is usually a glamorous night in Washington, featuring the power players of D.C. in their finest attire.

But due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden's inauguration was a different experience to say the least.

Instead of the usual speeches and dances at galas, the Presidential Inaugural Committee put on a television special that aired Wednesday night and was hosted by Tom Hanks.

For the evening, the newly minted president donned a classic navy suit and matching overcoat by American designer Ralph Lauren to address the nation.

"America's story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but all of us. On we the people," Biden said in his remarks. "That's the task before us (and) the only way we'll get through the darkness."

Joe Biden Marks His Inauguration With Full Day Of Events
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

First lady Jill Biden, who did not make a formal speech, donned an ivory coat and dress with embroidery reflecting all of the state flowers of the United States, its territories and the District of Columbia. Her spokesperson told the press pool it was an intentional gesture signaling the importance of national unity.

Both the dress and coat were created by the first lady's friend, fashion designer Gabriela Hearst. Born and raised in Uruguay, Hearst is known for her focus on sustainable fashion.

Vice President Kamala Harris donned a sparkly black dress for the evening's festivities. Harpers Bazaar reported it was designed by Sergio Hudson, a Black American designer.

Her cocktail dress was covered in "liquid sequins" and featured a floor-length silk tuxedo overcoat.

Harris addressed the nation at the "Celebrating America" event on Jan. 20.JOSHUA ROBERTS / AFP via Getty Images

He told the outlet that they had tailored and changed the dress several times before arriving at the final product seen on Wednesday night. It is meant to be a "riff" on Hudson's signature silhouette, Harpers Bazaar wrote. "'A pencil dress, long sleeves, with a strong shoulder' — to reflect the new administration’s unfussy, forward-moving tone."

“We kept the silhouette very structured and tailored, because that’s who the vice president is,” Hudson told the outlet. “But the liquid sequins give her glamour and shine, because her influence and the way she’s broken barriers is a light for so many of us. She shines so we can all shine."

In her speech, Harris' words also sparkled. She spoke about the American dream and the strength of the country.

"Even in dark times, we not only dream, we do. We not only see what has been, we see what can be. We shoot for the moon and then we plant our flag on it," she said. "We are bold. Fearless and ambitious. We are undaunted in our belief that we shall overcome, that we will rise up."

Earlier in the day, former first lady Michelle Obama also donned a Sergio Hudson look, wearing a merlot-colored coat with a wide-legged jumpsuit by the South Carolina-based designer.