Keke Palmer is in her prime — and she has fashion designer Sergio Hudson to thank.
Palmer, 29, opened up about finding herself again following the birth of her son Leodis in February in her cover story for Essence’s September/October 2023 Fashion Issue, which hits newsstands on Tuesday, August 29.
“Sergio being beside me made the whole thing that much better because he was acting like my mom, Sharon,” Palmer told the publication. “He was like, ‘Get out there and talk to these people. You need to work the room. These people need to see how good you look.’”
Palmer praised Hudson for “breathing so much life into me” when she needed it most. “I feel like he brought me back to the world, honey. He really did.”
After welcoming Leodis — who she shares with fitness instructor Darius Jackson — Palmer returned to the scene as both a mom and a refined fashionista. She graced several red carpets in figure-hugging ensembles by Hudson that showed off her post-baby body.
Her most notable Hudson creations came at the Met Gala in May and the Fragrance Foundation Awards in June. For fashion’s biggest night, Palmer channeled Old Hollywood in a strapless sparkly gown that nailed the evening’s Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty as it paid homage to the late designer’s ‘90s reign at Chanel. The following month, she looked as glamorous as ever in a skintight black velvet dress that was equipped with a plunging neckline and spaghetti straps.
Palmer also turned heads — and made headlines — when she wore a sheer frock by Givenchy at one of Usher’s Las Vegas residency shows in July. The piece became a trending topic when Jackson, 29, threw shade at the revealing ensemble. “It’s the outfit tho … you a mom,” Jackson wrote via Twitter alongside a video of Palmer on stage being serenaded by Usher, 44. Earlier this month, Palmer appeared to poke fun at Jackson’s comments when she starred in Usher’s “Boyfriend” music video, which showed her dancing with the musician at a casino.
Hudson, for his part, is equally grateful for Palmer, telling Essence that the actress is his “muse.”
“Until now, the only muse I ever had a relationship with was my mom,” he told the magazine. “But when Keke and I first met, immediately there was a clip. We were right there. She said she had this immediate trust in me, and all I really wanted was to make her look as beautiful as she is.”
He added, “She inspires me. Her talent is limitless. … She pours into me, and then I pour into her and onto her. I see a vision of who she is and where she should be, style-wise.”