With all the denim and western influences of late, let’s revisit the flamboyant, kitschy, rockabilly look of the Nudie Suit by Nudie Cohn, the Rodeo Tailor.
Starting out making diamanté G-strings for New York strip clubs, Ukrainian-born Nudie Cohn and his wife moved to Hollywood in 1947. There, they originated the riotously embroidered rhinestone cowboy look associated with Liberace, Elton John, and Elvis Presley.
In fact, Cohn created Presley’s signature $10,000 gold lamé suit, as well as Hank Williams’ white cowboy suit with music notes on the sleeves, and similarly festive numbers for Dolly Parton, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Cher, John Lennon, and Johnny Cash.
In addition to festooning suits, Nudie Cohn had a thing for customizing classic American cars. In all, he painstakingly personalized 18 such boats on wheels, primarily white Pontiac Bonneville convertibles, outfitting them with silver-dollar-studded dashboards, pistol door handles and gearshifts, and longhorn steer hood ornaments.
Nudie Cohn with Cher
Sonny and Cher in matching suits by Nudie Cohn
Elton John’s Rocket Man single
Elvis Presley in his $10k Nudie Suit
Robert Redford in The Electric Horseman (1979)
Keith Richards in a UFO-themed Nudie Suit
David Lee Roth
Nudie Cohn with Gram Parsons in a “pot, pills and poppies” Nudie Suit
Nudie Cohn with Hank Snow
Nudie Cohn with one of his customized Pontiac Bonneville convertibles
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Nudie’s wife, Bobbie Cohn