The Best Red Carpet Looks at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner

It hasn’t been the “nerd prom” for a while. Once a popular target of jokes about bad fashion (and not just from the evening’s featured comedian host), the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has morphed in recent years into a less campy, more staid prelude to the Met Gala, which takes place days later. It’s only fitting, really, given the subtext of journalists being jailed around the world.

Still, the bar for serious style has been raised by the mix of media, political and Hollywood figures that populate the guest list. Not that it’s just the celebs au fait with stylists and designer brands who are working the entrances. This year’s headliner, President Biden, has such a propensity for aviators that his accessories have practically become part of his political platform. He even turned them into material for his stand-up routine at last year’s dinner. (Hello, Dark Brandon.)

Vice President Kamala Harris in Celine and Eugene Daniels, a White House correspondent for Politico. Credit…Tom Brenner/Reuters

After all, what is a red carpet but a photo op in better clothing? And how many politicians have met a photo op they didn’t want to seize for a messaging moment? All anyone has to do is read their looks, if not their lips.

Case in point: Senator John Fetterman, who doubled down on his signature style by showing up in a black tie version of his usual hoodie ’n’ shorts (white tie hoodie, black basketball shorts).

While Mr. Fetterman may have been in the minority among his political peers, with most of whom following the president’s example and opting for a traditional tux, creative black tie proved a talking point. See Billy Porter in a black sequin caftan over a classic white shirt; Questlove, in an artistically paint-splattered jacket; and Fran Drescher, the SAG-AFTRA president, in a white brocade pantsuit.

Presenting the fashion equivalent of a united front were Sophia Bush and Ashlyn Harris, making their red carpet debut as a couple in matching Harbison looks, as well as Scarlett Johansson and her husband Colin Jost, in coordinating Giorgio Armani.

In the end, though (and not surprisingly), the majority vote went dark — at least judging by Lara Trump, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, in a one-sleeved body-hugging dress with a feathered, asymmetric neckline; Keri Russell of “The Diplomat,” in a sleeveless gown with matching scarf; the White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, whose plunging look was covered in a scrim of tulle; and Vice President Kamala Harris, whose high-necked sequin column faded into transparency at the shoulders. As a rare bipartisan choice, it was something to dine out on.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, the actress. Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Rosario Dawson, the actress. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania and his wife Gisele Barreto Fetterman.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Gayle King, the broadcast journalist.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Ashlyn Harris, the soccer player, with Sophia Bush, the actress, both in Harbison. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Billy Porter, the performer. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Chris Pine, the actor. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Keri Russell, the actress.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Representative Maxwell Alejandro Frost of FloridaCredit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Scarlett Johansson, the actress, in Giorgio Armani. Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Questlove, the musician.Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Rachel Brosnahan, the actress.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Molly Ringwald, the actress, in custom Cong Tri.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Rev. Al SharptonCredit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Sunny Hostin, the lawyer and journalist.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Senator Chuck Schumer of New YorkCredit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Kelly O’Donnell, the senior White House correspondent at NBC News and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Peter Neal and Naomi Biden, the granddaughter of President Biden. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Lynda Carter, the actress and singer.Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Coco Rocha, the model.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Joseph Lee, the actor.Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Jen Psaki, the former White House press secretary. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Al Roker, the journalist.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Kennedy, the political commentator. Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Aldis Hodge, the actor.Credit…Nathan Howard/Reuters
Andrew McCarthy and his wife, the screenwriter Dolores Rice.Credit…Drew Angerer/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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