Dr. Jill Biden's Elegant State Dinner Gown Nods to Franco-American Relations


While fashion can often feel trivial, it has a long history of going hand in hand with efforts of diplomacy and politics. Sartorial choices can say a lot, hence the constant conversation around the designers chosen to dress first ladies. Over the weekend, the focus turned to Dr. Jill Biden— who joined her husband in France for his first official state visit to the country—and who proved with her dress choice that she knows how to strike the right, stylish balance between meaningful and aesthetic.

The Bidens arrived to a state dinner at Élysée Palace with French President Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte Macron on Saturday. For the occasion, Jill opted to wear a navy blue, velvet off-the-shoulder gown by Schiaparelli. The dress was simple, but extremely elegant, with a column skirt and a white sash that draped around her waist and continued into a train behind her.

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It was a great look in itself, but it was also a very appropriate choice for the occasion. Schiaparelli is a French house, founded in Paris by Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli in 1927. The label holds an important place in French fashion and haute couture history. In 2019, Texan Daniel Roseberry took the top spot at the house, and has made significant strides during his tenure as creative director. Because of that, Schiaparelli is the perfect label to illustrate the French-American relationship, both within the world of fashion and beyond.

It is likely because of the French-American collaboration at Schiaparelli that Biden often wears the label, especially when in Paris. Last July, she honored the United States’s re-entry into UNESCO with a custom red Schiaparelli suit. She also wore the brand in September—albeit at the White House—while celebrating the 2023 Praemium Imperiale Laureates alongside Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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For her part, First Lady Macron wore a white Louis Vuitton column dress with sheer sleeves and buttons down the left side to Saturday’s dinner. This could also be seen as a diplomatic choice because while Louis Vuitton is a French house—and Nicolas Ghesquière a native Frenchman—the men’s line for the brand is now helmed by American designer Pharrell Williams. Williams was actually also in attendance on Saturday night, and he opted to wear some of the Americana-themed pieces from his fall 2024 collection. He was joined by his wife, Helen Lasichanh, as well as Léa Seydoux, who both wore designs from the Louis Vuitton women’s collection, turning the event into a celebration of French-American relations across the worlds of both politics and fashion.

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