Megan C. Hills, CNN
Updated: Fri, 11 Jun 2021 09:35:38 GMT
Jill Biden has underscored her husband's unity agenda ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, UK, wearing a blazer embellished with the word "love."
Asked about the jacket on Thursday, as she and President Biden met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his new wife Carrie, the first lady told reporters, "We're bringing love from America."
"I think that this is a global conference, and we're trying to bring unity across the globe," she added. "And I think that's important right now that people feel a sense of unity for all the countries, and feel a sense of hope after this year of the pandemic."
Designed by French brand Zadig & Voltaire, the black blazer's optimistic message was spelled out using pyramid studs. Though the item is no longer listed on the label's website, a similar "love" jacket, in white, is currently retailing for $448.
The first lady paired the blazer with a polka-dot sheath dress by American designer Brandon Maxwell, who dressed her step-granddaughter Finnegan for the presidential inauguration in January.
Political commentators were quick to compare Biden's message with that of another famous FLOTUS outfit: The controversial Zara jacket, worn by former first lady Melania Trump, that read, "I Really Don't Care, Do U?"
Trump was pictured wearing the infamous olive green parka in 2018 as she visited migrant children at a Texan border facility, with critics claiming that it reflected her husband's border policies. The first lady's then-spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said at the time that "there was no hidden message," before Donald Trump claimed it had been a jibe directed at "the Fake News Media," adding: "Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"
A number of social media user posted side-by-side pictures of the two jackets, with one tweeting that Biden's marked "quite a difference from the Trump days." Another suggested that the choice of blazer signaled the first lady throwing "serious shade" on her predecessor.
Biden's ensemble won approval from Zadig & Voltaire's artistic director, Cecilia Bonstrom, who posted about the jacket on Instagram stories alongside the message, "Love @flotus wearing @zadigetvoltaire LOVE blazer."
It's not the first time that Biden has worn the garment in public, having been photographed in the same blazer at a Philadelphia campaign rally in April 2019. Nor is it the first time she has used her wardrobe to reinforce the Biden administration's messaging.
At her husband's inauguration dinner, Biden wore a dress embroidered with the official flowers of each US state and territory -- with Delaware's peach blossom sewn close to her heart. The designer behind the dress, Gabriela Hearst, said that it had been inspired by "the message of unity."
On Saturday, the first lady will gather with other G7 leaders' spouses, before heading to Windsor Castle for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II the following day. Her busy schedule will also see her meeting with a volunteer group that assists British military veterans, as well as former service personnel who participated in the 1,000-mile "Walk of America" fundraiser.
The White House's senior associate communications director, Matt Hill, suggested that the message featured on Biden's jacket had been directed towards the military, tweeting that she was "bringing love from America, especially for American military service members and their families serving overseas."