Jill Biden wowed in a turquoise dress of Vlisco fabrics during White House dinner

6 AUGUST — 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 dress of Vlisco fabrics. The dress was 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 regional group director for Vlisco, the wildly popular Dutch wax print fabric brand coveted by women throughout Africa.

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Jill Biden visits Madame Monique Gieskes’s dress shop to have a dress made for the Africa Summit, during a visit to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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.

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.

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

Source: Washington Post – 6 August 2014.
Photography: Official White House Photography by David Lienemann