5 Things To Know About The Latin American Designer Who Designed Jill Biden’s Evening Dress

Gabriela Hearst
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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 22, 2021: New First Lady Dr. Jill Biden put the spotlight on a Latin American designer Wednesday night for her evening ensemble, an ivory dress and coat that was embroidered with each of the 50 state’s flowers and that of D.C., for the virtual concert celebration. Here are five things to know about this designer:

1: She is Gabriela Hearst who was born in Uruguay and is also a new US citizen. She grew up on her family’s ranch in central Uruguay, attended The British School of Montevideo and graduated from the Universidad ORT Uruguay with a B.A. in communications. In her early 20s, after a short period in Paris, she moved to New York to study performing arts at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre.

2: In 2004, she started Candela in Brooklyn, NY with just USD $700. The collection was made of T-shirts with silk-screened illustrations of a winged woman on top of a horse – which was based on a photo of her mother. In 2006, the collection expanded to ready-to-wear and shoes.

3: In fall 2015, Hearst launched her eponymous label: Gabriela Hearst. The collection is characterized by quality craftsmanship high-end and innovative materials that are environmentally friendly. Her line’s first bag was the Nina Bag (named after Nina Simone). In January 2016, Hearst was included in the “Ten of Tomorrow” by Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).

4: On September 9, 2017, Gabriela Hearst was added to the Business of Fashion BOF500 2017 – the professional index of the people shaping the global fashion industry. In January 2019, LVMH Luxury Ventures, the fund launched by French luxury giant LVMH to support “already iconic” emerging brands, invested in Gabriela Hearst, allowing the brand to expand their presence around the world. Since the fund creation in 2017, this investment is the first in a creative label.

5: In December 2020, Hearst was named new artistic director at French brand Chloé. “The message of Unity is the main inspiration for the creation of the Ensemble,” Hearst wrote about the new First Lady’s ensemble. “Unity makes strength and it is needed for the road ahead. The blooming symbol to represent this message are the federal flowers from every state and territory of the United States of America. The flowers are embroidered into the cashmere coat on the hem line in an pattern that rises organically on the side’s seams. On the dress, the embroidery is placed on the silk organza neckline and arms.”

First Lady Jill Biden, 4th from r, in the Gabriela Hearst design at the Lincoln Memorial where the president participated in a televised ceremony on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)

“The Delaware flower is positioned at the heart level of The First Lady, from there, all the other flowers branch out,” she continued. “The pieces were made entirely in New York City. The Embroidery and Coat were crafted in the garment district and the dress was assembled at the in-house studio. Each flower took approximately two-four hours to embroider. Careful placements and color selections were carefully studied for weeks. Inside of the coat, representing the lifelong calling and service of Dr. Biden as an educator, is a hand embroidery on the lining with a quote from Founding Father Benjamin Franklin: ‘Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.'”