Who is Gabriela Hearst? Uruguayan designer behind Jill Biden's Congress dress has Kamala Harris on mood board

'I’m trying to create something that is timeless', says the fashion designer

                            Who is Gabriela Hearst? Uruguayan designer behind Jill Biden's Congress dress has Kamala Harris on mood board
Gabriela Hearst and (right) Jill Biden in her dress (Instagram/gabrielahearst, Getty Images)

First Lady Jill Biden wore a black dress by Gabriela Hearst at Joe Biden’s speech to the joint session of Congress on April 28 — the same dress she wore on inauguration night.

The first lady wore a navy version of the cream Gabriela Hearst evening gown she wore after her husband entered the White House in January and accompanied the president to his speech at the United States Capitol. The dress featured a sheer overlay, floral embroidery and a matching navy blue mask by the Uruguayan designer, who works with pre-existing fabrics and is known for making a symbolic statement through her style. Here's what's to know about her.


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Gabriela Hearst (Getty Images)


Who is Gabriela Hearst?

Gabriela Hearst is the eponymous high-end fashion and accessories line for women and men, founded on the ideals of "timelessness, uncompromising quality, and sustainability", according to the owner, Gabriela Hearst's website

Hearst, 44, was born in Uruguay and grew up on her family's 17,000-acre ranch, Santa Isabel in Paysandu, surrounded by horses, cattle, and sheep, where the concept of luxury meant "beautifully crafted", long-lasting products. “There’s this idea that nothing can go to waste when you’re in a remote area,” she says on her website. “You’re always thinking twice and repurposing everything.”



'Tradition over trends'

Hearst moved to New York from Uruguay in 2003, carrying with her a sense of purposeful belonging and a preference for tradition over whatever trends. She founded Gabriela Hearst in 2015 after more than a decade in the design industry, fusing the ranch's ideals of timeless functional beauty with her reality as a professional woman seeking realistic elegance in her everyday life in New York.

Each garment is designed and made with sustainable materials such as silk, cashmere, linen and wool from her family's ranch, which her father left in her care in 2011. LVMH Luxury Ventures, the multinational luxury conglomerate's investment arm, took a minority stake in Gabriela Hearst in early 2019, making it the only American brand other than Marc Jacobs in which LVMH is involved.

Hearst, her husband Austin Hearst, and their three children, Mia, Olivia, and Jack, live in New York. She has worked with many celebrities and political figures in the past, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “I’m trying to create something that is timeless,” Hearst said to Washington Post. “People use this word, and sometimes they associate it with boring. But for me, timeless is a Greek earring done in the third century A.D. It’s like a design that is so intriguing that it can’t be put in one era.”



Her fashion is inspired by Angela Davis and Georgia O’Keefe

Hearst's fashion isn't flashy or wanting to grab social media eyeballs. They're for the boardroom badass, with cropped trousers, blanket pattern dresses and fringed throws. She has also used fashion as a political statement in the past two years after Donald Trump was elected to the White House. Her fashion is inspired by Black activist Angela Davis and artist Georgia O’Keefe. For inspiration, she pinned pictures of Senators Kamala D Harris (D-Calif.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) to her mood board.

“I just want to give [women] uniforms for their lives so they feel comfortable in their power,” Hearst says to the Post. “I don’t want them to waste too much time thinking of what they’re wearing. I want to give you like, tuk-tuk-tuk-tuk, you’re done.”

US second gentleman Doug Emhoff (L) and U.S. first lady Dr Jill Biden (R) arrive before a speech by President Joe Biden to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber of the US Capitol April 28, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Dressing Jill Biden

“The Delaware flower is positioned at the heart level of The First Lady, from there, all the other flowers branch out. The pieces were made entirely in New York City,” the designer told the Independent. Hearst clarified that the embroidery on the inauguration gown included the federal flowers of every state and territory in the United States.

It's also appropriate that Dr Biden wore Gabriela Hearst, who is known for her commitment to using recycled fabrics and sustainable practices. President Biden's speech focused heavily on creating jobs to fight climate change. "For too long we've failed to use the most important word when it comes to the climate crisis: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" Biden said. The dress was a big hit on social media, too. 


Second Gentleman of the United States Doug Emhoff and Dr Jill Biden. Dr Biden was wearing a dress designed by Gabriela Hearst (Getty Images)

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