The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville has something for anyone who enjoys music…of any type.
Take performers’s outfits for example. Performers know that they make a personal statement about themselves and their personal brand through what they wear. So finding the right outfit to wear is important to them. In the Hall of Fame, you’ll find thousands of items of clothing worn by country artists. They are sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate, sometimes spectacular displays of uniqueness. And with these displays, you’ll also find nuggets of information on some of the people who designed the clothing.
For example, one clothing designer is Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors in Hollywood, California. The name comes from the owner, a Russian immigrant named Nudie Cohn who was born in Kiev, Russia in 1902. Nudie started tailoring G-strings for burlesque showgirl dancers in New York City in the 1930s. He and his wife then moved to California and started making clothes out of their garage. He received attention for his outfitting of a few West Coast stars like Lefty Frizzell and later approached Roy Rogers and Dale Evans about being their custom tailor. He went on to suit Rogers & Evans for every performance as well as become good personal friends with them.
Nudie’s reputation grew rapidly and he gained fame for being the first to put rhinestones onto his outfits. In 1957 Nudie made Elvis’ famous $10,000 gold lame suit and he spent many lunches relaxing with Elvis’ manager Colonel Parker. Nudie became so popular, in fact, that he dressed many of the stars of the era, including: John Wayne, Cher, Gene Autry, Elton John, Ronald Reagan, Glenn Campbell, Hank Williams Sr. as well as musical groups, America, ZZ Top and Chicago. Though Nudie passed in 1984, his legendary clothing tradition continued through his wife and grand-daughter who recently re-opened the business.
At the Hall of Fame, you’ll find lots of performer outfits, including Hank Snow’s “Golden Rocket” Nudie suit, Jim Reeve’s tuxedo jacket, a Gram Parson’s Nudie suit, a Patsy Cline cocktail dress, a Hank Williams’s Nudie suit, Johnny Cash’s black suit from The Johnny Cash Show and the dress Carrie Underwood wore at the winning American Idol show.
Tomorrow: Musical Instruments at The Country Music Hall of Fame
Fun Excursions in a Box Guide: Nashville