Move Over, Old Hollywood — ‘20s Renaissance Glam Is Here & Keke Palmer Is Leading The Way

You could call it flapper chic.

Keke Palmer updo and glam makeup

It’s no secret that Old Hollywood glam is having a moment right now. From the Met Gala to the Venice Film Festival, vintage-inspired beauty looks seem to be very much on the menu for celebrities, who love to lean into classic elements like finger waves, poppy-red lipstick, and dramatic cat eyes. Given the elegant and universally flattering nature of these looks, it’s not difficult to see how they’ve stood the test of time, looping back into the trend cycle again and again. Now, Keke Palmer’s vintage updo signals a new era of retro beauty — and she’s certainly making a strong case for it.

This past weekend, the multitalented star hosted WACO Theater Center’s annual Wearable Art Gala, founded by Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, and her husband, Richard Lawson. The glamorous yearly gala supports youth mentorship through the promotion of artistic expression, and always features a star-studded guest list. The theme of the evening was “Harlem Nights,” a glittering celebration of the legendary Black artists who defined the 1920s-50s.

Never one to shy away from a major beauty moment, Palmer whole-heartedly embraced the theme head-on with a Harlem Renaissance-inspired look that evoked the sophisticated swankiness of the time period. Considering the event founder’s daughter just released a year-shaping album dedicated to a disco-infused version of the theme, it seems like the planets aligned to make sure every outfit, makeup choice, and hairstyle was a perfect home run. Palmer’s certainly was.


“It was a night to remember,” Palmer shared on her fan-beloved Instagram page. “Most events involving so many stars can be quite stuffy. This was not, it was so fun and soulful and for a good cause. The theme was Harlem Renaissance, get into these costumes honey!”

For the event, Palmer dressed in a draped vintage black dress with feather details by Yves Saint Laurant (courtesy of the star’s stylist, Shiona Turini, whom she shouted out in her post). She also wore black opera gloves and Cartier jewels, giving the ensemble a regal feel. Her glam also packed a serious punch. Hairstylist Alexander Armand created a curly cropped style that, according to his Instagram caption, was achieved without any extensions — an impressive feat especially considering how voluminous the turned out. Makeup artist Mylah Morales went all out with bold smoky eyeshadow almost up to the brow bone, winged eyeliner, and fluttery lashes. Palmer’s dark red lipstick was the perfect finishing touch.

Don’t be surprised if any upcoming red carpets start to see a wave of 1920s-inspired beauty looks — and if you do, you’ll know exactly who to thank.