JANUARY 20, 2021
Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez may have been the headline acts of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, but it was 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, who delivered the event’s true standout performance.
Gorman, who became the youngest poet to read at an inauguration ceremony, moved dignitaries in attendance and viewers at home with her reading “The Hill We Climb,” her powerful poem calling for togetherness as America enters a new chapter. But she also caused a buzz with her vibrant outfit, which channeled the optimism of the occasion, and the jewelry she wore, though small on television screens, carried touching personal sentiment.
In a yellow double-breasted coat from the Italian designer Miuccia Prada, complemented by a red satin Prada headband perched on top of her twisted hair style, the Los Angeles native stood out against the more muted crowd behind her. Speaking to Vogue, Gorman revealed that her choice of coat was a nod to First Lady Jill Biden, who asked her to speak at the inauguration, and praised Gorman’s decision to wear yellow on another occasion.
Her jewelry, notably, was not Prada, but rather gifts from independent designers, courtesy of Oprah Winfrey herself. Professing to be a fan of Gorman’s work, Winfrey gifted Gorman a ring in the shape of a caged bird from New York-based brand Of Rare Origin (a tribute to African American poet Maya Angelou) and a pair of gold hoop earrings from Greek designer Nikos Koulis.
Winfrey was carrying on her own tradition with these gifts: In 1993, the talk show host and producer sent Angelou a Chanel coat and gloves ahead of her own reading at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
While this is Gorman’s most high-profile fashion moment to date, she likely has many more in her future, as her star continues to rise. “(Fashion) has so much meaning to me, and it’s my way to lean into the history that came before me and all the people supporting me,” she told Vogue.