Ella Emhoff Is The New Fashion Star To Watch – Here’s Why

Kamala Harris’ step-daughter is everyone's new fashion crush.

ella emhoff balenciaga couture

by Laura Antonia Jordan |
Updated on

It really wouldn't be hyperbolic to refer to Balenciaga's recent Haute Couture show as historic. The label's founder closed the doors to the couturier over 50 years ago and now, Demna Gvasalia has decided to bring it back. And who did he choose as one of his models for this major fashion moment? None other than Ella Emhoff.

Having alreadyappeared on the catwalk for Proenza Schouler, Emhoff is shaping up to be one of the most in-demand names for designers right now. And there's a very good reason for that.

Think back to your graduation outfit. If you're cringing over the patent nude heels (just me?), then you might want to look away now because Emhoff wore the most amazing dress from The Vampire's Wife for her own ceremony. Of course she did.

Vice President Kamala Harris posted a tribute to her step-daughter on Instagram. 'Congratulations to our daughter Ella on her graduation. I am so proud of you. Keep dreaming with ambition and there is nothing you cannot achieve. Love, Momala.'

Of course, Emhoff hasn't rested on her laurels since Inauguration Day. As well as signing a modelling contract soon after with IMG, she's partnered with Batsheva Hay, the designer whose dress she wore on that fateful day in January, on a hotly-anticipated knitwear collaboration.

Ella Emhoff in Miu Miu
Ella Emhoff in Miu Miu ©Getty

The world sat up and took notice at inauguration, when Emhoff opted for a checked coat from Miu Miu. With its cinched waist, it was a suitably respectful choice for the occasion, but the sprinkle of sparkle on the shoulders transformed something prim into something deliciously unpredictable. And was that exaggerated, starched white collar chosen as a reverent nod to Ruth Bader Ginsburg? We can only guess.

What is certain is that Brooklyn-based Emhoff – the daughter of new second gentleman Doug Emhoff and Hollywood producer Kerstin Emhoff – knows fashion. (Hello, she styled her graduation frock with an irreverent string of beads.) That shouldn’t be surprising, she just graduated from the textiles and apparel course at the prestigious Parsons School of Design. As well as a silk moiré dress from Batsheva Hay, the designer who wooed New York’s coolest downtown girls into modest frocks, she finished the look with a Loeffler Randall headband and not, as would have been the ‘safe’ choice, pumps, but chunky boots.

Social media predictably freaked over Emhoff’s inauguration look, but buzz was already building around her after she wore a pinstriped suit from the Frankie Shop back in November. On the eve of the inauguration, she posed for a picture in front of the Washington Monument with her mother and brother, Cole, wearing a Thom Browne double-breasted trench, red, white and blue pleated skirt, shirt and tie.

Emhoff’s triumph is in the tricky balancing act she pulls off: she manages to be both appropriate and retain an edge, adding a dash of unpredictable art school cool to looks that are entirely fitting for the occasion. Not many political ‘children of’ or young royals do this successfully. They end up looking like prim pastiches, dressing how they think they’re supposed to dress – in nude heels, for instance – rather than how they want to dress. You know Emhoff is choosing her own clothes on her own terms.

If you already can’t get enough of Emhoff, then check out her Instagram, which is jam-packed with her candy crochet designs: Tweety bags, checkerboard bucket hats, rainbow pants (we think Harry Styles would be a fan). Given Harris’ new reputation as a champion of young talent, might we next see her wearing one of step-daughter’s pieces? Consider that yet another reason to be excited about this new era in American politics.


SEE: Kamala Harris's Wardrobe In Action

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