Between the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of insurgency, the inauguration of Joe Biden as U.S. president was a ceremony like no other. Sure, there was still plenty of pomp and pageantry, but the muted festivities meant at least one tradition got short shrift.
We didn’t get to pick apart the new first lady’s choice of inaugural ballgown, because there were no inaugural balls.
But Jill Biden came through, in the end, with an inauguration night conversation piece. Her dress and matching coat, worn during the “Celebrating America” televised special, were embroidered with the official flower from every state and territory in the U.S. That includes Illinois’ violet, which was named the state's flower in 1908. (Violet is also the state flower of New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.)
The ensemble’s designer, New York-based Gabriela Hearst, shared close-up details of the embroidery to her Instagram account. In a particularly sweet touch, “the Delaware flower is positioned at the heart level of the First Lady,” Hearst wrote.
Scrolling through the images, the source of Hearst’s design inspiration is revealed as “U.S. State Flowers in Counted Cross Stitch,” by Gerda Bengtsson, a book released back in 1977.
We zoomed in on the cover of Bengtsson’s book for a better look at her interpretation of the violet (below). Now, see if you can spot Hearst’s version on Biden’s coat.