Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bobbie Nudie - Queen of the rhinestone cowboys

Bobbie Nudie (real name Helen Cohn) created some of the more ludicrous outfits that country and pop singers have worn over the years. From Elvis to Hank Williams her rhinestone encrusted suits symbolised everything that was tacky about the genre, yet became a must-wear item for dozens of stars. I must admit that I was unaware of her influential role until she died last month at the age of 92, but she and her late husband Nudie Cohn left an indelible impression on the music industry. Together they created suits for the likes of Hank Snow and Roy Rogers and also devised Johnny Cash's Man in Black look. Nudie and his wife did not confine themselves just to suits. Boots, saddles, and belts -- anything with leather tooling -- became part of the line, as well as pantsuits and dresses. And then there were the cars, mainly convertibles with steer horns on the grille and rifles, six-shooters, and derringers as part of the ornamentation. Nudie designed 18 of these. Hank Williams was buried in a Nudie suit and more recently Buck Owens was buried in one of his Nudies. Roy Rogers was another who wore his Nudie suit to the grave. Perhaps the most famous Nudie creation of all was worn by Elvis Presley. That suit, created in the 1950s, was made of gold lame and priced at $10,000. Nudie later said his profit on the King's creation was $9,500. The Nudie look crossed over into rock music in a more substantial way in 1968 when the the Flying Burrito Brothers started wearing them. Gram Parsons's suit, decorated with marijuana leaves, became an iconic image in rock. Other rockers, including Elton John and Keith Richards, soon followed.


At 5:03 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very sad, end of an era... if want more on the nudie legend check out my fansite: www.placeboma.com/nudiecohn


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