Kesha’s Stylist Says Her Grammys Suit Represents Her ‘Place of Empowerment’
The "Praying" singer wore a vintage Nudie Cohn suit to the 2018 Grammy Awards
Kesha’s appearance on the Grammys 2018 red carpet is a significant one.
The “Praying” singer and nominee for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance has not attended the award show since 2010, and a lot has happened since then — including a very public legal battle with producer Dr. Luke starting in 2014, in which she sued the producer, alleging he drugged, raped and verbally, physically and emotionally abused her for years. Dr. Luke denied the allegations.
Meanwhile, the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement that emerged in 2017 has continued to gain force, and now Kesha’s battle against the producer is being looked at with a new lens. In fact, many men and women are wearing white roses as a sign of support for the Time’s Up initiative, which fights against gender inequality and abuse in the workplace.
Hence, it was important that her look tonight — a vintage suit with embroidered white roses on the lapels paired with glittery silver boots — is a nod to her power to overcome obstacles, says her stylist Samantha Burkhart, both because of the white roses and the suit itself. “This is such big moment for Kesha,” Burkhart tells PEOPLE. “This has been Kesha’s story for the last three years — she lives that story. So, we were very conscientious and aware to make her feel confident. I wanted her to feel beautiful, empowered and strong, as well as sophisticated and glamorous.”
That’s why a suit was an important choice. “After going through what she’s gone through in the last couple of years, her place of empowerment as a woman is wearing a suit,” says the stylist. “She doesn’t have to put herself out there and be objectified in a dress. She gets to really make a powerful statement and own her place as a woman and be empowered. It’s not really statement on gender but its just a statement on her feeling comfortable and strong.”
Continues the stylist: “We didn’t want to do something that just looks like it’s a great red carpet moment,” she says. “Rather, this is about Kesha and her music, her voice and her message and we want to keep it as authentic to who she is as possible.”
And the suit that Burkhart and Kesha chose has incredibly interesting roots. The navy suit was designed by the late Nudie Cohn, who was famous for tailoring unique embroidered suits for everyone from Elvis Presley to Elton John. They sourced the suit from Cohn’s granddaughter Jamie Lee Nudie, and it was especially meaningful as it was the suit Cohn wore to his granddaughter’s wedding, says Burkhart.
She finished the look with a mix of vintage and fine jewelry, including a Coomi emerald ring, a Roberto Bravo diamond ring, a L’Dezen by Payal Shah diamond ring and turquoise ring because “it’s her favorite color,” says Burkhart. “She just loves it.”
For Kesha’s performance of “Praying,” Burkhart worked with Clinton Bespoke in Los Angeles to create a custom white suit embroidered with colorful flowers. “It’s such an empowering song, and it’s such a spiritual song, so we just felt white would be nice,” says Burkhart, who also dressed 24 other women who joined Kesha on stage in white looks.
“Kesha is wearing sparkle but not one else is wearing sparkle,” the stylist adds. “No one is wearing over the top makeup. It’s real people singing on stage and we wanted to create a relatable sense of reality and heightened sense of beauty.”
Was the all-white looks a nod to the Suffragettes, we wondered? “That’s just a happy coincidence with it,” says the stylist.
CBS is broadcasting the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, hosted by James Corden, live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET.