Ella Emhoff, Kamala Harris’s stepdaughter made her runway debut for the Balenciaga haute couture show in Paris this week, after being featured on the cover of a magazine in February. After closing its doors to couture in 1968, Balenciaga held its first haute couture show in more than 50 years.

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The 22-year-old fashion designer strutted down the runway in a two-piece long black suit with a floor-length padded silk opera coat. She didn’t take off her glasses; instead, she strode down the runway wearing them with pride. Her hair was tied in a neat bun while her look was kept free of accessories.

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“Thank you/congrats to @demnagvasalia and the whole Balenciaga team. Truly amazing,” she wrote on Instagram.

Emhoff is famous for her eccentric sense of style, which she demonstrated at US President Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony.

Emhoff made her runway debut barely six months after signing with IMG Models in January. Ivan Bart, the president of the modelling agency at the time, told The New York Times, “Ella communicates this moment in time. There’s a cheekiness and a joy she exudes.”

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Emhoff had previously modelled for Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough at New York Fashion Week.

The current round of couture presentations in Paris indicated a return to normalcy, as the balance between virtual and in-person events shifted in favour of the latter, and more international visitors returned to the city this week to partake in the scene.

Balenciaga presented its inaugural haute couture collection, directed by creative director Demna Gvasalia, 53 years after the house’s founder, Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his couture business in ’68.

The 40-year-old Georgian designer, who has been creating ready-to-wear for Balenciaga for six years, debuted a 63-look collection. The show proffered a distinctive new twist on high fashion, mixing relaxed garments with formal gowns and Demna’s signature supersize outerwear, with jeans and t-shirts featuring heavily. 

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Kanye West was believed to be in the crowd, curiously masked by a balaclava. Other high-profile attendees were Bella Hadid, Lewis Hamilton, and Anna Wintour.