John and Jacqueline Kennedy, 1961
The wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, drew attention to the inauguration not only as a political, but also a fashionable event. Even before her husband took office, Jacqueline was known as a fashionista who loved mainly French brands. However, since the first lady should be supported primarily by American designers, before her inauguration she had to turn to Oleg Cassini, a Parisian émigré who lived in New York and copied the things of his French colleagues. For the inaugural parade, he designed a turquoise coat with large buttons and fur trim, complemented by a muff and cap in color, and for the inaugural ball - a fitted dress and a voluminous cape in the spirit of Cristobal Balenciaga's collections.
Jacqueline Kennedy in a cape and dress by Oleg Cassini and John F. Kennedy, inaugural ball, 1961 © Getty
John F. Kennedy was not inferior to his wife: he paid tribute to the first presidents of the United States, who dressed in English fashion in a business card (a kind of frock coat, the hemlines of which diverge in front, forming a tapered neckline). Another reference to the past was in choosing a costume manufacturer. It was presented by Brooks Brothers, one of the oldest menswear brands in the United States, among whose fans was, for example, Abraham Lincoln. He wore a Brooks Brothers coat at his second inauguration in 1865: lined with an eagle and the phrase "One Country, One Destiny."
John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy wearing Oleg Cassini coat on inauguration day, 1961 © Getty
Richard and Pat Nixon, 1969 and 1973
The Kennedys' outfits became the model for subsequent American presidents and their wives. Richard Nixon chose Brooks Brothers suits, and Pat Nixon - fur accessories, candy-colored coats and dresses that turned the first lady of the state into a diamond figurine, rather than an elegant status lady.
At Nixon's first inaugural ball, Pat wore a pale yellow satin dress and cropped jacket inlaid with gold, silver and Austrian crystals. The kit was developed by designers Karen Stark and Harvey Berin, who, like Oleg Cassini, offered adapted versions of the French couturiers' collections to the American market. At the second inauguration, there were no fewer semi-precious stones: designer Adele Simpson created a turquoise silk organza dress completely embroidered with crystals. The outfit did not correlate with Pat Nixon herself, who, before moving to the White House, worked in a pharmacy, a typist and a radiologist, or with a country that was engulfed in mass protests in those years.
1 of 4 Pat Nixon in Karen Stark for Harvey Berin dress, inaugural ball, 1969 © Getty Richard and Pat Nixon at inauguration, 1969 © Getty Pat Nixon in Adele Simpson dress, inaugural ball, 1973 © Getty Richard and Pat Nixon at inauguration, 1973 © Getty
Ronald and Nancy Reagan, 1981 and 1985
Despite the fact that Nancy Reagan knew firsthand what Hollywood chic was (she, like Ronald Reagan, played several roles in films), her inaugural outfits were more formal and minimalistic than those of Pat Nixon, but no less spectacular. On the looks for the official part of the event, both in 1981 and in 1985, the American designer of Cuban origin, Adolfo Sardinha, who, unexpectedly for himself, came up with the future business card of Nancy Reagan - a suit in a special shade of scarlet, later named "Reagan Red ".
Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in Adolfo Sardina dress at the inauguration, 1981 © Getty
In red, Reagan posed for photographs from the White House, attended the premiere of Sunset Boulevard, traveled to Indonesia and met Queen Elizabeth (as a sign of respect to the first lady, the daughter-in-law of the British monarch, Princess Diana even attached a red headscarf to her white dress). "Simple and elegant" - this is how James Galanos, American designer and author of outfits for Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe, who gathered Nancy Reagan for the ceremonial parts of both inaugurations, described his client's outings.
Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan wearing James Galanos, inaugural ball, 1981 © Getty
Ronald Reagan also did not cheat, ordering suits from the Californian tailor Frank Mariani. In an interview, the maestro admitted that the 40th President of the United States is one of his most conservative clients. He opted for single-breasted jackets with a slightly high waist and trousers with pleats and cuffs. Interestingly, in 1981, Reagan for the last time in the history of the inauguration put on the so-called stroller suit - a semi-formal suit consisting of a classic jacket and wide gray striped trousers.
George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan at the inauguration, 1985 © Getty
Bill and Hillary Clinton, 1993 and 1997
Despite different political views, expressed primarily in belonging to different political parties, Hillary Clinton clearly sympathized with Pat Nixon. This was indicated by her inaugural images, made in similar shades and using the same amount of iridescent decor. Clinton returned Hollywood chic to the White House, for which in 1993 she attracted designer Sarah Phillips from Arkansas (a tribute to her husband's homeland), and in 1997 - perhaps the most popular author of outfits for red carpet - Oscar de la Rent (in the USA there is even a catch phrase: "We will dress for the Oscar from Oscar"). Then the eyes of voters were riveted precisely on Hillary, and not on Bill Clinton, next to the first lady in suits and a coat from Brooklyn tailor Martin Greenfield.
1 of 3 Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in Sarah Phillips dress, inaugural ball, 1993 © Getty Hillary Clinton, inaugural parade, 1997 © Getty Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton in Oscar de la Renta dress, inaugural ball, 1997 © Getty
George and Laura Bush, 2001 and 2005
Laura Bush followed the example of Hillary Clinton: at the first inaugural ball she paid tribute to her homeland, ordering a dress from the Texas designer Michael Faircloth, and at the second - Hollywood fashion, turning to Oscar de la Rentte for help. Nevertheless, the newly-made first lady denied resemblance to anyone. In preparation for the inauguration, a reporter asked her who of her predecessors she would look like, and in response he heard: "I think I'll just be like Laura Bush."
George W. Bush and Laura Bush wearing Michael Faircloth, Inaugural Ball, 2001 © Getty
George Bush and Laura Bush in Oscar de la Renta dress, inaugural ball, 2005 © Getty
At the same time, critics noted that the second dress of the wife of the 43rd President of the United States for the inaugural ball screamed about its high cost, and the complex texture contradicted the true nature of the once shy teacher from a small town. Much more inspiration was caused by her images on the official parts of the inaugurations: a blue ensemble with black lapels, gloves and pumps, which echoed the George W. Bush suit from an unknown tailor, and a white coat with small pockets, complemented by an ivory scarf.
George and Laura Bush, inaugural parade, 2001 © Getty
George W. Bush and Laura Bush wearing Oscar de la Renta coats, inaugural parade, 2005 © Getty
Barack and Michelle Obama, 2009 and 2013
The inauguration of the first black US president was to be unprecedented. This concerned, in particular, the images of the main characters of the event, which for the first time was massively followed not only on television and in the press, but also on social networks. Michelle Obama used this mouthpiece as a vehicle to promote little-known but talented fashion designers. The gold woolen lace set for the first inaugural parade in 2009 was designed by Cuban-born American designer Isabel Toledo, while 26-year-old Jason Wu from Taiwan was responsible for the white one-shoulder dress with floral patches. If Toledo purposefully created an outfit for the event, then Wu found out that the first lady of the United States had chosen a dress from his collection by watching the broadcast of the inaugural ball. Patronage of Michelle Obama,which made the designer famous all over the world, it did not end there: she came out in his dress, already more daring, avant-garde and bright, at the second inauguration in 2013. The hostess of the White House ordered a coat for the official part from Tom Brown from New York, who specializes in creating clothes for men, complementing it with a J. Crew belt, which made the image more democratic.
Barack Obama in Brooks Brothers coat and Michelle Obama in Isabel Toledo coat and dress, Nina Ricci cardigan, J. Crew gloves and Jimmy Choo shoes, inaugural parade, 2009 © Getty
Barack Obama in Hart Schaffner Marx tuxedo and Michelle Obama in Jason Wu dress, inaugural ball, 2009 © Getty
“Now people take pictures of the shoes, bracelets and necklaces that I wear, but they don’t pay attention to the fact that my husband wears the same tuxedo for eight years in a row,” she pointed to Barack Obama. - And he is very proud of it. He always tells me: “I'll be ready in ten minutes. How long did it take you to get ready?” To which I answer: “Come on, get out of here!” Barack Obama, like Abraham Lincoln, swore allegiance to the American people in Brooks Brothers' black coat in 2009 and 2013, and his "one and the same tuxedo" was the work of the employees of the Hart Schaffner Marx atelier in Chicago, where he began his path to the status of the 44th US president.
Barack Obama in Brooks Brothers coat and Michelle Obama in Thom Browne coat, Reed Krakoff boots and J. Crew belt, inaugural parade, 2013 © Getty
Michelle Obama in Jason Wu dress and Barack Obama in Hart Schaffner Marx tuxedo, inaugural ball, 2013 © Getty
Donald and Melania Trump, 2017
From Melania Trump, who, before moving to the White House, did not miss a single major social event, dressing up in sable coats, leopard dresses and high-heeled shoes, they did not expect much in the status of the first lady of the United States. But in vain: the former Slovenian model surprised voters already at the inauguration, making a neat reference to the style of Jacqueline Kennedy in her image and a nod to the work of American designers (although she always loved Dolce & Gabbana). A blue cashmere set of jacket and dress, complemented by long gloves and matching boats, was made for her by Ralph Lauren, who later fell into disgrace because of this. Calls to boycott the designer appeared on social networks: they say, if he cooperates with Donald Trump, then he supports his sexist and other radical statements.
Donald Trump presumably in Brooks Brothers outfit and Melania Trump in Ralph Lauren outfit, inaugural parade, 2017 © Getty
However, there were much fewer protests in the direction of Ralph Lauren than admiring ones in the direction of his outfit. Critics declared that Melania Trump in it, unlike her predecessors, who opted for shiny dresses of Disney princesses, looked restrained and mature. “She carefully studied the language of the first lady,” wrote Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times.
Donald Trump in Brioni suit and Melania Trump in Herve Pierre dress, inaugural ball, 2017 © Getty
The dress for the inauguration ball was also praised - white, with bare shoulders, a lonely drapery and a thin burgundy ribbon instead of a belt. Melania Trump worked on it herself, enlisting the support of the former creative director of Carolina Herrera Hervé Pierre. Standing next to her husband with an eccentric hairdo, on which he spends $ 70 thousand a year, and in wide trousers that did not match either his figure or the solemnity of the event, the first lady of the United States set the tone for her future behavior in the White House. In the face of the incessant provocations of Donald Trump, she managed to keep her face, and sometimes also to speak elegantly on the topic of a particular situation.>