Kesha’s 2018 Grammys Outfit Had a Country Connection [PICTURES]
Pop star Kesha, who netted nominations in the categories of Best Pop Vocal Album, for her 2017 release Rainbow, and Best Pop Solo Performance, for the single "Praying," attended the Grammys in 2018 for the first time since 2010. In the years in between, the singer became embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with her producer, Dr. Luke, whom she sued in 2014 in order to void their recording contract on the grounds that he "sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused [Kesha] to the point where she nearly lost her life."
A judge dismissed her claims of abuse and denied her request to be freed from the contract, also denying an injunction that would have allowed her to record music under the umbrage of other labels. Amongst her fanbase, this created the "Free Kesha" movement in support of the singer's quest to be able to record again. Even Taylor Swift reportedly donated $250,000 towards Kesha's legal fees.
Swift and Kesha have more in common than fame, though: They have both lived in Nashville. And Kesha, a Nashville native, displayed her country roots as she returned the Grammys for the 60th annual iteration of the ceremony by wearing a tailored, vintage blue suit with white roses embroidered prominently on its lapels.
This was not just any suit, though. The vintage outfit was designed by the late tailor Nudie Cohn, who famously designed suits for a virtual who's-who of country legends and for other musicians outside the genre as well. Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Keith Richards and Elton John have all sported Nudie suits, to name just a few. In the mid-20th century, Cohn created custom, rhinestone-studded suits out of his California store, Nudie's Rodeo Tailors, that came to represent a status symbol for country stars who'd made it to the top of their careers.
"The lights [reflected off] rhinestones and shone in the crowds, and as crowds got bigger for country music, those kinds of outfits really set country music apart," Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum editor Michael McCall explains to the Tennessean. "It said you're a country singer ... it drew everybody's attention to you."
Though Nudie's Rodeo Tailors permanently closed in 1994, more than 30 years after Cohn's death, the fashion statement has been recently making a comeback. Jamie Nudie, the designer's granddaughter, recently partnered with Bill Miller, the owner of the Johnny Cash Museum, to open Nudie's Honky Tonk on Broadway in Nashville. The bar prominently displays many of the original suits, as well as a 1975 Cadillac Eldorado that Nudie embellished with guns on the door handles and silver dollars.
"Before my grandmother died, she handed over the keys to the car and said, 'You're the keeper of all this,'" Nudie explains in an interview with Billboard.
Nudie, in fact, helped Kesha and her stylist find the suit Kesha wore to the 2018 Grammy Awards. Cohn wore the suit to his granddaughter's wedding. Both the suit itself and the fact of sporting white roses was an intentional choice, Kesha's stylist Samantha Burkhart says in an interview with People.
"After going what she's gone through in the last couple of years, her place of empowerment as a woman is wearing a suit," the stylist explains. "She doesn't have to put herself out there and be objectified in a dress."
In light of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Kesha's public struggle with Dr. Luke has been revisited in a new light. The singer's white roses were an homage to the popular demonstration of support for the #TimesUp movement, in which musicians wore white roses to the Grammys to raise awareness for the pervasive sexism and threat of sexual misconduct women deal with in the entertainment industry.
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