When Amanda Gorman was announced as the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017, the attention was, quite rightly, placed on her preternatural abilities as a wordsmith. Then 19 years old, she performed her original poem “In This Place: An American Lyric” at the Library of Congress, weaving a story of contemporary America that touched on everything from DACA to mass shootings to the Charlottesville riots, while still maintaining a sense of beauty and hope. The piece now sits in New York’s Morgan Library & Museum alongside works by some of the greatest figures from American literary history.
All the same, Gorman’s keen eye for fashion didn’t go unnoticed. Embracing the possibilities of style as a storytelling device all of its own, her love of color and bold prints at events and readings caught the eye of Prada, who invited her to their Milan Fashion Week shows throughout 2019. It was no coincidence, then, that when Gorman was preparing for the event that would catapult her to global fame—namely, her showstopping recital of “The Hill We Climb” on Inauguration Day in January—Prada was the obvious go-to when she found herself looking for an outfit ahead of the event.
As she tells Doreen St. Félix in the cover story for Vogue’s May issue, Gorman first texted her contact at Prada was just five days before—“back then the one fashion house with which she had a connection,” St. Félix adds, with an anecdote later in the story noting that the sheer volume of flowers sent by brands afterward was so abundant that they may have potentially triggered an allergic reaction that ended up sending Gorman to hospital. Despite the last-minute nature of bringing the look together, Gorman still approached it with the same care and consideration she did every other aspect of her performance. “Gorman loves how [clothes] help her shape her image,” St. Félix writes, retelling the story behind the genius styling twist of Gorman repurposing the red satin headband as a kind of diadem, and explaining that it was her mother’s suggestion to place it at the fore of her head and wear it like “a tiara, a crown.”