When Dr. Jill Biden walked out onto the inaugural stage this past January, she was dressed in a custom jewel-toned blue tweed coat and matching mask by the young New York designer Alexandra O’Neill of Markarian. It was a big moment for the four-year-old label—whose romantic floral frocks have been seen on the likes of Priyanka Chopra, Kate Hudson, and Lizzo—and one that made the debut of its Fall 2021 collection yesterday all the more exciting.
For her starting point, O’Neill, who studied Roman art and mythology in college, turned to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. “Metamorphoses seems particularly relevant with the changes we are seeing across the globe,” she wrote in a press release. “Ovid paints vivid pictures of transformation triggered by challenges, strife, and turmoil often suggesting that art and creation allows one to transcend suffering.”
The resulting 39 looks are proof that even such dark times as ours can’t hamper her creativity: There are v-neck jacquard jumpsuits, ruffle-tiered brocade midi skirts, beaded cardigans crafted from recycled cashmere, and one hunter green wool and velvet coat that could easily fall into the First Lady’s wardrobe (despite the fact that O’Neill had designed the collection well before she was approached by Dr. Biden’s team in December). Even lockdown-friendly loungewear is decidedly luxurious thanks to a rose-printed pajama-like set, which comes accented with a row of Swarovski crystals.
The brand is also making its first foray into accessories with gleaming cabochon cuffs, dragon-shaped door-knocker earrings, and delicate gold-plated hair pins that would add an elegant above-the-neck touch to any ensemble, be it for one of Markarian’s loyal customers (the line is a wedding day-favourite) or Dr. Biden herself. Here’s hoping we see more of Markarian’s eye-catching pieces on the D.C. circuit—and beyond—these next four years.
Below, see every look from Markarian’s Fall 2021 collection.