Normally, I'm not one to eye red carpet celebrity fashion shows. I mean, they could wear the Gap to an event like Sharon Stone in '96 and '98, and I would barely bat an eye.
But when hand embroidery elegance like this gets involved, especially on such a historic day, I cannot refuse at least a gander. Ok, maybe a blog post?
Meet Gabriela Hearst, the designer of this coat and white evening dress ensemble. A custom fit for Dr. Jill Biden, down to the last embroidered stitch. "Each flower approximately two-four hours to embroider," Hearst commented on her Instagram feed. Don't I believe it! Just gaze upon this gorgeous detail.
Hearst says that each flower represents one of the 50 states and territories in the United States as they are each states' designated flower, because she wanted to emphasize the "United" part of America's name. "The message of Unity is the main inspiration for the creation of the Ensemble. Unity makes strength and it is needed for the road ahead. The blooming symbol to represent this message are the federal flowers from every state and territory of the United States of America. "
Hearst adds, "The Delaware flower is positioned at the heart level of The First Lady, from there, all the other flowers branch out... Inside of the coat, representing the lifelong calling and service of Dr. Biden as an educator is a hand embroidery on the lining with a quote from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin 'Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.'"
If you look through her Instagram feed, you can see an illustrated botany book all about America's state flowers. Color is very important to become familiar with when you embroider. You don't have the option to mix paints. I can imagine just the amount of time it took to select just the right tones, decide the exact placement of each stitch, and the amount of time, pricked fingers, sore knuckles, and stiff digits it took just to put this together.
While it seems the satin stitch was the main choice, I see elements of needle painting in the violet's leaves from Illinois, French knots in the purple lilac from New Hampshire, and bead embroidery used in the deep rouge of New York's red rose. Much thought and attention to detail was put into the coat and dress. Dr. Jill Biden is a very lucky woman to have received such a fine art masterpiece.
And also for being the 46th First Lady of the USA. You know... details.