Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter steps onto the catwalk
Fashion house Proenza Schouler shows off its fall collection in a show which features the modelling debut of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter, Ella Emhoff. (Feb. 18)
Ella Emhoff, the 22-year-old stepdaughter to Vice President Kamala Harris, made her Paris Fashion Week debut walking the runway for Balenciaga.
After making waves at New York Fashion Week earlier this year, Emhoff took things international to Paris on Wednesday for Balenciaga couture’s Fall/Winter 2021/2022 show. She sported a black suit with an oversized matching shawl, complete with pointed black boots, a sleek bun and glasses.
“truly amazing </3,” Emhoff wrote on Instagram of her experience, expressing gratitude to the fashion house for inviting her to join.
Emhoff is the daughter of Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, from a previous marriage to Kerstin Emhoff. Emhoff and her brother, Cole Emhoff, 26, are named after jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald and Cole Porter.
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After turning heads with her fashion choice for her stepmother’s inauguration in January, Emhoff soon after signed with IMG Models.
In February, she marked two major accomplishments within two days: Making her runway debut for Proenza Schouler at New York Fashion Week, and then landing her first magazine cover.
The fledgling model was featured on the cover of the European fashion magazine Dust’s spring 2021 issue. The former art student and knitwear designer is donning one of her own designs, a pastel-colored knitted sweater with a teddy bear among other designs.
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Emhoff made her modeling debut Feb. 18 in Proenza Schouler’s new collection, unveiled for New York Fashion Week. She was dressed in a couple of coats (plus a pantsuit), because designers at Proenza Schouler knew she looked good in a coat.
Designers Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough said the fashion world took quick notice when Emhoff appeared at inauguration, dressed in a quirky Miu Miu coat with bejeweled shoulders along with a starchy white collar. Social media took notice, too.
Soon after, the designers were planning their February show — actually a digital short, for pandemic reasons — and the casting director mentioned Emhoff. “And we said, ‘We were just talking about Ella.’ Seemed like everyone was kind of talking about her,” McCollough said in an interview.
As it turns out, Emhoff, who graduated in May from Parsons School of Design (where Hernandez and McCollough met and began their partnership), had just signed with IMG Models, joining an even bigger breakout star of the inauguration: poet Amanda Gorman.
The outdoor shoot took place recently on a blustery weekend at the Parrish Museum in Water Mill, New York. It was the first time Emhoff had walked a runway.
“I have to say I was a little nervous,” Emhoff said later in a streamed talk with the designers, also released Thursday.
“We very much believe this moment is about the elimination of anything superfluous, the elimination of excess,” Hernandez said, explaining the ethos of the collection at a time when fashion itself can feel, well, superfluous. “Just reducing things to their most essential basic forms. All the buttons are invisible buttons. The pockets are just internal.”
Hernandez said he saw Emhoff representing “this idea of a new beginning, a whole new chapter in American life, in American culture.”
“She’s a nice sort of ambassador of the new moment,” he said, before moving artfully away from any political implications. “You know, via the filter of fashion and art and craft and the world that we all inhabit. She’s sort of the ambassador of that.”
Contributing: Cydney Henderson; Associated Press