Ella Emhoff, one of the breakout fashion stars of President Joe Biden’s inauguration last month, has just landed her first magazine cover.
Just hours after making her debut at New York Fashion Week in the Proenza Schouler fall 2021 show, Emhoff, the 21-year-old stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris and the daughter of Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, has been revealed as one of the cover faces of the new issue of Berlin-based fashion and art title Dust.
Photographed by Collier Schorr in a Brooklyn studio where she used to work and styled by Brian Molloy, the textile design student at Parsons and emerging knitwear designer, poses in her own creation — a colorful patchwork knitted sweater, paired with a Gucci cotton shirt and a sleeveless silk turtleneck from The Row.
Inside, she models a number of designer looks from the likes of Prada, Balenciaga and Miu Miu, while in a wide-ranging accompanying interview conducted by artist Marina Abramović over Zoom, Emhoff discusses her inauguration outfit — an embellished, cinched-waist long coat by Miu Miu worn over a Batsheva dress.
“The choice was honestly very spur-of-the moment. Personally, I like the cross between old and new. I love the doily-type collars, I obviously love knits, I love tartans, I love classic embroidery, and I wanted to make sure I stayed true to myself and keep that alive,” she said.
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She added that in general, while she loves a lot of classic designers such as Gucci and Miu Miu, she’s found the most inspiration from the small designers that are creating their own brands in recent years — especially throughout the pandemic. “A lot of the smaller studios or single individuals, say on Instagram, are creating from home; whether it be knitwear or with sewing machines. I think people are really pushing themselves in creative ways to use materials and processes that they otherwise wouldn’t have thought of using had it not been for the pandemic. I love this London-based brand called Chopova Lowena.”
Asked about her “master plan,” as Abramović put it, Emhoff said that her first priority is graduating from college.
“I’m in my last semester, so it’s very, very close. But after college, I’m obviously very excited about signing with IMG, modeling and developing that creative aspect, but also continuing with my knitwear — it’s really important to me. It’s almost a selfish act; a cathartic experience; my therapy,” she continued. She signed with agency IMG Models last month, joining poet laureate Amanda Gorman.
As for how the collaboration came about, a representative for Dust explained that it happened very quickly in a span of a few phone calls after the inauguration.
“We were watching the inauguration together with the Dust team as we were working on the layout of Love More issue 18. Among everyone at the inauguration, Ella stood out. Not only for her austere and stunning Miu Miu coat, but the energy she carried herself with. It was Ella’s overall style. It felt so cool and refreshing, especially for that context, and surely, we were impressed. It was the first time we heard of her,” he said.
“In the days after the inauguration, or it might’ve even been the day after, we were talking with Nicola Kast, the casting director who we collaborated with on some of the stories in this issue, and she brought it up. She said she knew Ella’s agent, and that she was perfect for Dust. She just started modeling, and moreover, she is an artist. We loved the idea, and even if we were a week away from the magazine deadline, we most certainly wanted to make it happen.”
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