The Story Behind Ella Emhoff’s Viral Inauguration Day Look

Leigh Nordstrom
·3 min read

As has been wholly declared by the internet by now, Vice President Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter, Parsons student and rising knitwear designer Ella Emhoff, was the breakout fashion sensation of Wednesday’s inauguration. At the swearing-in, she caught attention in her Miu Miu coat, which was worn over a Batsheva dress; a deeper look on social media showed she chose a Thom Browne look the day before, posing with her Gucci-clad mother, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff’s former wife Kerstin Emhoff.

Both Ella and Kerstin worked with celebrity stylist duo Jill Lincoln and Jordan Johnson for the events in D.C. Jill and Jordan, as they are known, count Jennifer Lawrence, Rachel Brosnahan, Anna Kendrick, Margaret Qualley, Jennifer Garner, Kiernan Shipka, Julianna Margulies, Kathryn Hahn and more as clients. Below, WWD chats with the stylist duo about how the internet-breaking looks came together.

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WWD: How did you connect with Ella and Kerstin?

Jill and Jordan: Through a mutual friend of Kerstin’s. We “met” over text and then Zoomed a week later.

What was your approach for the day and what were your conversations with Ella like around what to wear?

She wanted to wear a dress and the coat was very important since the ceremony was outside. We were very much aligned on what styles and silhouettes we would look for. She wanted to look like herself and be respectful of the occasion.

How did you settle on Ella’s Thom Browne outfit and the Batsheva dress/Miu Miu coat outfit?

We reached out to several designers, but those three specifically were of the first that we requested and the first to confirm. They were also the first she tried in the fitting. The fashion gods had a plan! The Miu Miu was still wrapped in plastic when we declared it the likely winner.

Thom Browne fit her style and we live vicariously through any of our clients who get to wear his looks fully styled as intended… and the red/white/blue…there was no way T.B. was not making an appearance in D.C.

Batsheva felt like an obvious pairing with the Miu Miu. She [Batsheva Hay] also felt like an obvious pairing with Ella. Some girls and some designers are just cohesive. We can’t explain it!

In what ways did Ella’s knowledge and interest in fashion design come into play?

She knows her stuff. It’s fun to work with someone who has a genuine love of clothes as an art form and a means of self-expression. She directed us to her Instagram to get an idea of her style and we both reacted with “ooohhhh…I totally get it.” So she gave us a roadmap and we filled in the blanks with what and who we knew may have pieces that fit the bill.

How did you approach dressing Ella and Kerstin for political events differently than celebrities for Hollywood events?

We were mindful of the occasion and respectful of Kamala, the Bidens, etc. In that regard it was different, since often the celebrities that we dress are supposed to stand out. Our approach to fitting Kerstin and Ella was…we were helping our friend’s friend and her daughter put together looks for a really special weekend for their family and our country.

What was it like seeing Ella on TV in the look?

We were both at our respective homes watching the inauguration while getting our kids breakfast… i.e., not laser focused. We saw her in a few frames, exchanged excited texts, and then Jill’s niece started sending Twitter links about her coat. We had no idea that her look would receive the attention that it did. We were so proud.

What was the highlight of this experience?

We had a really, really small part in a truly historic day that was filled with hope for great things to come. And we got to meet two awesome women in the process.

More from the Inauguration:

Senator Bernie Sanders’ Inauguration Look Goes Viral

Markarian Designer Shares the Back Story About Dressing Jill Biden

Kamala Harris Wears Custom Pearl Necklace by Wilfredo Rosado for Inauguration

Joe Biden Wears Ralph Lauren for Inauguration

What Will Jill Biden’s Style Look Like as First Lady?

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