For the 60th Grammy Awards on Sunday, it seemed only fitting that someone would wear something by a designer who’s outfitted some of the most iconic musicians of all time. Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Cher and Elton John have each worn an elaborately rhinestone-studded suit by Nudie Cohn, the iconic country-music clothier who began operating out of a North Hollywood shop in the early 1950s. Now Kesha can add herself to the late tailor’s client list.
The singer and performer walked the red carpet in a blue vintage Nudie suit with cream-colored embellishments and rose embroidery, which dovetailed nicely into the evening’s white rose trend representing the Time’s Up movement.
Kesha asked her stylist, Samantha Burkhart, to pull a Nudie suit for the Grammys “since Kesha loves my grandfather’s work," says Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors owner Jamie Nudie, who relaunched her family’s business a few years ago after the North Hollywood store closed in 1994.
The suit was paired with glittery silver boots and a mix of diamonds, emeralds and turquoise. The one selected was worn in 1980 by the designer himself, to walk his granddaughter down the aisle at her wedding. “It was my grandfather’s personal suit,” says Nudie, “so [Kesha] loves it. It’s very special to me, and now to Kesha!”
Cohn, a Ukrainian immigrant who was reportedly the first person to put rhinestones on clothing in the early 1930s, was famously responsible for Presley’s $10,000 gold lamé suit and a marijuana leaf ensemble worn by Gram Parsons. He moved around Los Angeles in custom automobiles wearing his own eye-catching suits and mismatched cowboy boots to honor his humble beginnings when he couldn’t afford a matching pair of shoes.
Cohn’s life story and his designs can be found in Nudie and Cabrall’s 2004 book, “Nudie, the Rodeo Tailor: The Life and Times of the Original Rhinestone Cowboy.”