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Jill Biden says her Inauguration Day outfits, now featured in a Smithsonian museum exhibit about first ladies, were a “voice for me on one of the most important days of my life.”
The dresses — one blue, one white — with matching coats and face masks “spoke to the American people then, and now they will continue speaking to generations to come,” she said, before mannequins dressed in her clothes were formally added to the exhibit.
“They will help tell not only my story, but the story of what Americans experienced together,” the first lady said at the museum. It was her first public appearance, following the removal of a cancerous lesion from her face and another one from her chest.
“This day is so much more emotional than I ever imagined it to be,” she said.
First ladies typically donate their inaugural ball gown to the Smithsonian Institution, but President Joe Biden had no such celebrations. He took office at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when such large indoor gatherings were discouraged.
So Jill Biden parted with the ocean blue tweed dress and coat that she wore to her husband’s swearing-in at the Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, and the ivory silk wool dress and cashmere coat she wore at the White House that evening. They were designed by Alexandra O’Neill, founder and designer of Markarian, and Gabriela Hearst, founder and creative director of Gabriela Hearst, respectively.
In recognition of the historic nature of the inauguration, the face masks the first lady wore were also added to The First Ladies Collection at the National Museum of American History.
She praised both designers, who spoke at the ceremony. Jill Biden said she met O’Neill when the designer was just starting out.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.