The Color Purple
Harris and Obama were dressed by two young Black American designers who grew up in the South, Christopher John Rogers and Sergio Hudson, respectively. Former Senator, Secretary of State, presidential candidate and First Lady Hillary Clinton wore a vivid purple Ralph Lauren pantsuit (because of course) with a matching scarf under a deep maroon coat. Former First Lady Laura Bush’s ladified jacket danced on the line between lilac and powder blue, and Senator Amy Klobuchar channeled the hue with her scarf. Even outgoing Vice President Mike Pence’s tie, typically ruby red, appeared to be plucked from the burgundy region of Pantone's purple family. Joe Biden wore a purple tie on his first day in office.
The color purple is rich with symbolism.
It’s the color of royalty, and as Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, senior historian of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, points out, “Our democracy came out of a monarchy and colonial situation. We've never had our own royalty so we tend to project that desire.”
It’s the color of the Purple Heart, the badge of honor and bravery bestowed by the United States military on veterans wounded or killed in the line of duty.
It’s the title of Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the plight of African American women in the South, a parallel with meaning not lost on the occasion of the swearing in of Harris, the first woman, the first Black and South Asian American to the office of Vice President.
But the color purple is also as simple as 1, 2, 3. Paint by numbers: red + blue = purple. It was a call for unity to heal the great schism between the Republican and Democratic parties’ reds and blues.
One could argue it’s just fashion, nothing more than colorful dresses, coats and ties. But sartorial gestures have the potential to take on great meaning. Seeing a few flashes of purple on Wednesday morning was much different than the wave of red hats that dominated the National Mall four years ago.
The color purple transcends politics and has been alive and well in the world of fashion. As we introduced the IGOR Fall/Winter 2021 collection this last week, you may have noticed a similar hue. The designer has hit a bold new stride with the introduction of a gorgeous custom print (used thematically in the collection) in, you guessed it, the color purple.
As we are a ripe few weeks into this new year, we all dream of an easier, peaceful and happy year ahead. Let us move forward in peace, unity, and with a sense of royalty as we put on our beloved pieces of fashion.
The IGOR FW21 collection will launch in the USA on February 19th at the virtual edition of Curate International Collections.