Sergio Hudson on Designing Inauguration Looks for Kamala & Michelle

History was made in more ways than one on Inauguration Day!

Sergio Hudson had a monumental day as a designer, dressing former first lady Michelle Obama for Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. But, he also got the chance of lifetime when he had the opportunity to design a look for Kamala Harris, who became the first female vice president.

For the Celebrate America special, which took place instead of the Inaugural Ball which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Harris was seen in a black sequin cocktail dress with a black tuxedo coat. Hudson tells ET’s Nischelle Turner that it was a “wow” and “emotional” moment for him.

“I have African-American daughters, so working on this project meant more to me than I think anything I’ve ever done,” Hudson expresses. “It gave meaning to what I do because sometimes when you’re in fashion it’s perceived as frivolous and [like] we don’t really bring anything to the world. So when you get those moments to show like, ‘Look, we can be a part of this too’ and to show my daughters that because of this woman, your dad took a part in her being celebrated, was amazing to me.”

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However, Hudson reveals that Harris’ look had to be changed last minute and went from a full gown to a cocktail dress.

“They were going to have a small ball, and then I think when the insurrection happened they were like, ‘OK, we’re going to have to rethink things.’ So the dress pretty much got scrapped,” he admits. “So we had to kind of rework it and figure it out. They cut it off into a cocktail and the coat that she wore is a different coat than we originally designed. We had to make sure that we were being sensitive to the moment in the country.”

“At the end of the day, I really wanted her to be in something fabulous, but you have to be conscious of the position that she’s in,” he continues. “And no one has ever had that position…I was thinking, what would the first female vice president wear as an evening look? So we took the signature dress that we did and we just made it in a liquid sequin, we added the sparkle to the already-structured silhouette and it was like, OK, we’re just dressing up something that she would normally wear.”

Additionally for her inauguration, Harris rocked a purple ensemble by another Black designer, Christopher John Rogers.

As for Obama’s much-talked about merlot look, Hudson worked closely with the former first lady’s stylist, Meredith Koop, to get the perfect look for the event. People couldn’t get enough of the statement pantsuit, matching coat and belt.

“[Koop’s] a fan of the brand so whenever I put out a new collection she’ll be like, ‘Oh, this’ll be great for Mrs. Obama!'” Hudson shares. “So with this it was actually inspired by a look from my Fall-20 collection, with a coat and it was a sweater dress. So the only thing we really did was we made the dress a sweater and we made some high-waist, wide-leg pants, which is kinda like her signature [look]. And she wore my signature belt and we extended the coat to the floor and that’s how we got that moment.”

“It really was a true Sergio Hudson moment,” marvels the designer, adding, “When I see how a woman should dress, that’s how I see them! She’s pretty much a Sergio Hudson girl now.”

Hudson also notes that his phone “was blowing up” after Obama stepped out on the Capitol balcony, adding, “I never dreamed it would be as big a moment as it has become. It’s like…crazy!”

For Hudson, who describes himself as someone from a “really, really small town,” couldn’t be more honored and grateful for moments like these.

“I had to dream really big to be from this small town and to dream of doing this, but I think it was just the way I was raised,” he relays. “Because my mom always told us we could be who we wanted to be. I know that’s cliched but we believe that because she was being whatever she wanted to be and it was never a question whether I could do what I’m doing now. There was always support there and it was always, ‘You can do it, this is your destiny.'”

“Even when I talked to my mom yesterday she was emotional, of course, but it was pretty much like, ‘I told you,” he says. “My goal as a designer, the greater goal for me, is to make this brand a legacy brand. To become a great American sportswear designer. Those kids like me that don’t have the support can look to somebody and make them see somebody who has my skin color and say I can do this as well because we haven’t crossed that threshold yet. And I feel like if I can, I can make it easier for somebody to come behind me to do it as well.” 

Watch the video below for more memorable moments from Inauguration Day.

Biden-Harris Inauguration 2021: All the Historic Moments and Showstopping Fashion

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