Friday, July 24, 2009

Love Wilco's Nudie Suits

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco is featured on the cover of the August 09 Spin magazine promoting the latest Wilco record, "Wilco (the album)".

More pics of the band in their Nudie Suits:

Rolling Stone did an interview with Nels Cline (guitarist) on the new album and the suits:
It was kind of a rushed job. The idea was born three months before Lollapalooza and it takes at least two months to get the suit, and they had to make not only enough for the whole band with different designs and different colors, but Jeff also ordered jackets for the Total Pros, our horn section. I think he just wanted to show to be very special for the local audience, for the Lollapalooza audience. Something for the local fans. And then we did wear them again at Tanglewood this year.
They're actually strangely comfortable to wear. It's hard for me to wear a jacket and rock out. I don't do it normally. But certainly in the service of the nudie suit glamour, one must suffer for fashion. I just kept looking around at everybody going, '"Damn!They look good!"

Which got me thinking, "where the hell did the 'Nudie' suit come from anyway?" It was hugely popular during among the Country & Western musical scene of the 50s and 60s (think Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers and even Elvis Presley). Apparently from a guy named Nudie... only in America:

Cohn was born in Kiev as Nuta Kotlyarenko and moved to New York as a child. Initially moving to California to become a boxer, he instead worked as an extra and a costume designer. He moved to Minnesota for a while, marrying in 1934. Cohn and his wife Bobbie moved to New York City, where they opened their first store, Nudie's for the Ladies, which specialized in customized underwear for showgirls.

Nudie returned to California in 1947, where he talked bandleader Tex Williams into auctioning off a horse to purchase him a sewing machine. Opening a store at 5015 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood, Nudie began designing Hollywood western wear, a style promoted in films from the prewar era. His designs notable for even greater than usual ostentatiousness, including extensive use of rhinestones and themed-appliques. One of his early designs, for singer Porter Wagoner, was a peach-colored suit featuring rhinestones, a covered wagon appliqué on the back, and wagon wheel piping on the legs.

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