Author(s): MacKenzie Mairi
Nudie Cohn was the Russian-born tailor whose designs transformed the clothing of American country music. At one time a designer of highly embellished g-strings for New York strippers, Nudie moved to Hollywood in 1947 and originated the Rhinestone cowboy look that has become visual shorthand for a particular strain of country music style. His fantastical, intricately embroidered and heavily ornamented outfits have adorned the backs of countless stars within country music as well as those from the worlds of rock n roll, film and the rodeo. They include Elvis Presley, Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Hank Williams, Porter Wagoner, Gram Parsons, John Lennon, Cher, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Elton John. Today his work is still sought after and admired. Contemporary musicians such as Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream, Mike Mills from R.E.M. and Beck; fashion photographers including Craig McDean; and fashion designers from Tommy Hilfiger to Giles Deacon have been inspired by his incredible designs. 'DreamSuits: The Wonderful World of Nudie Cohn' will explore Nudie's biography, his relationship with his customers, the evolution of his style as well as his legacy within contemporary culture. Superb examples of Nudie suits and archival material from his estate are shown alongside images of those that wore his designs and those that are still influenced by him today. Published to accompany the Momu, Antwerp exhibition Dream Suits: Designs by Nudie Cohn, the Rodeo Tailor - featuring the collection of Bobbejaan Schoepen it also draws upon an extensive (and previously untapped) collection of Nudie's designs owned by the remarkable Belgian entertainer, Bobbejaan.
Buck the touch-screen trend and read a hardcover book. Nudie Cohn, the tailor behind Elvis Presley's famous gold lame getup, knows a thing or two about dressing up. "Dream Suits: The Wonderful World of Nudie Cohn" details the life of the Russian-born designer to the stars who created the rhinestone cowboy look. - San Francisco Chronicle
Mairi MacKenzie is a fashion historian based in Glasgow. She is a lecturer at Glasgow School of Art, a visiting lecturer at Glasgow University and was formerly a lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion. She has written and taught on fashion eras from early modern to the present day and has curated numerous exhibitions.