The Story Behind Dr. Jill Biden’s Wax Print Dress At Last Night’s White House Dinner.


The Militant Negro

The Story Behind Dr. Jill Biden’s Wax Print Dress At Last Night’s White House Dinner.


Story by Washington Post & Helena Andrews:



Jill Biden and Vice President Biden at the White House on Tuesday August 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

When it comes to the collective hand-wringing of who wore what at the White House, the second lady often takes a well-worn backseat to the first. Not so on Tuesday.


At last night’s White House dinner in honor of the U.S.-Africa Leaders summit, Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, wowed in a turquoise wax print dress custom-designed in Congo. The choice–bold, colorful, diplomatic–was, of course, intentional.


“For me, the fabric and style of this dress embodies the beauty and strength of the women I met throughout my visit to Africa last month,” Jill Biden said.


In July, she took a week-long trip to Africa with stops in Zambia, Congo, and Sierra Leone, highlighting female empowerment, education and economic development. In Congo, Biden met sewing shop owner Madame Monique Gieskes, 53, a group director for Vlisco, the wildly popular Dutch wax print fabric brand coveted by women throughout Africa.


Gieskes trains women, many of whom have been the victims of gender-based violence, to become tailors and eventually run fashion-based businesses of their own. After meeting Gieskes, Biden decided what she would wear to the White House dinner.


Later that evening Biden took a tour of the Vlisco flagship store that Gieskes runs.


Screenshot (125)


“The first thing I noted was how amazed she was with the different colors we had. It was like fireworks, so many colors,” said Gieskes in a phone interview from her shop in Kinshasa, the capital Congo.


She eventually steered Biden toward a “turquoise blue that would fit her complexion.”


With the biggest decision made, the shop then took Biden’s measurements and the dress was ready at 10 a.m the next morning to make the 6,500-mile trip back to Washington.


“It can take three to four days usually, but we knew she was leaving the next day,” explained Gieskes, adding that a seamstress volunteered to work through the night.


The dress, added Gieskes, sent a powerful message to the “underprivileged and talented” women she works with.


“A woman anywhere in the world, you see–no matter the continent, no matter the color–what she chooses to wear is supporting what another woman is doing in her country,” said Gieskes.


Follow more of the big dinner’s news here from Lionel Richie’s pseudo-African song lyrics to what 1600 Penn. will have on the menu.


More from The Reliable Source:


Lionel Richie will perform at the Africa ‘state dinner’ at the White House


A playlist in honor of this week’s Africa summit in D.C.


The first lady of Cameroon and her hair have touched down in D.C.


Even more surreal estate, BOLO and Love, etc: Sign up for The Reliable Source newsletter. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter


Thank you Washington Post & Helena Andrews. Ms. Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews, and send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to reliablesource@washpost.com.




Travels in Africa with Dr. Jill Biden


Published on Aug 4, 2014

In July 2014 Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden led a delegation to Zambia, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone to meet with leaders and discuss education and women’s empowerment. On the trip she was joined by USAID Administrator Raj Shah. Hear them discuss their experiences and the significance of this visit.




Dr. Biden Delivers Remarks at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit


Published on Aug 5, 2014

Dr. Jill Biden speaks during a luncheon at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. August 4, 2014.




Dr. Jill Biden Speaks on Creating Opportunities for Young Women Leaders


Published on Aug 6, 2014

Dr. Jill Biden speaks before the U.S.-African Leaders Summit on education and how we can create opportunities and invest in the next generation of women leaders. August 6, 2014.





9 replies »

  1. 🙂❤ … Yes .. I love❤ Dr. Biden's attire … There wasn't a better time for Flotus Obama to have gloriously shown that — "She is our African wife" … I wish i had the chance to dress her up in African attire with head-tie … I do have special lace fabric for her … That … I will want to be on the front page of several magazines … I can dress her up just to make eyeballs roll nonstop … As the very Black Flotus at the white house … !!Oooooh Well!!! … There is plenty of time for her to model her outfit before her husband leaves office … I can have her lace hand picked and sown from Switzerland … I don't need to get close to her to measure her … I can do her measurements with my eyes …🙂 … I will be honored … If .. She can wear it …


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