At Australian state dinner, Jill Biden remains neutral | ET REALITY


It was a night of comfort food and comfortable, slick attire—strange adjectives for a state dinner, an event typically known for its pomp, circumstance and grand gowns. But everything is relative and we live in complicated times that require a careful balance between demonstrations of power and humility in the face of other people’s pain.

Jill Biden, the first lady, acknowledged this herself in advance of Wednesday’s party in honor of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, calling the food “calming and healing,” and noting that the planned entertainment, the B-52s , had been exchanged. for the US Marine Band and the Army and Air Force Strolling Strings. She then put her outfit where her words had been.

She opted for Reem Acra and went beige. It was her equivalent to the roasted vegetables, pumpkin soup, and braised short ribs on the menu.

With its high, round neck and simple lines, Dr. Biden’s dress, in a nondescript color, although covered with a layer of silver leaves, was elegant and a little dowdy, walking the fine line between bright and neutral. . Brilliant even in the neutrality of it.

And while Dr. Biden has worn Reem Acra on so many important public occasions (the Bidens’ second state dinner, for the president and first lady of South Korea; the wedding of Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan; and the wedding of his granddaughter Naomi in the White House). , to name a few) that the designer is clearly part of her comfort zone, the choice was also right.

Ms. Acra is a Lebanese American designer, and Dr. Biden’s acceptance of her work has did not go unnoticed in the Arab world. That the American first lady would wear Acra’s work to a state dinner at this particular moment seemed less a coincidence than a specific reminder of the power of diplomatic relations and what it means to work with this particular administration. Not to mention a sign of faith in the American melting pot as a place of unity across origins, rather than divisions.

Maybe that’s reading too much into the election; Dr. Biden is clearly a fan of Reem Acra’s designs. But consider the dress of Jodie Haydon, Australia’s first lady. An equally sober dress in dove gray tulle from the Australian brand Paolo Sebastian, founded by designer Paul Vasileff, former Young Australian of the Year, It was covered in embroidery of native Australian birds and flowers, including the kookaburra and the Sturt desert pea. With it, Ms. Haydon wore jewelry from the Australian brand Cerrone, which, like her dress, was “on loan,” her office specified.

And consider the fact that earlier on Wednesday, at Albanese and Haydon’s arrival ceremony, Dr. Biden had worn a raspberry-colored Carolina Herrera pantsuit with a large pin in the shape of an Australian golden acacia, the national flower . , on the lapel.

On occasions like this, nothing is left to chance, when photos of the host and guests of honor are often the only communications most of the world sees. Although Dr. Biden is clearly less interested in managing the semiology of her wardrobe and how she is received than first ladies like Michelle Obama, she is no stranger to it. After all, she is an English teacher. She knows that the story is contained in the details.

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