"The Man Who Set Rhinestones in Fashion History"

News at "Nudies"


Like a Rhinestone Cowboy, Rodeo Tailor Nudie Cohn Rides into History with Comprehensive New Book on His Life

LOS ANGELES — JANUARY 12, 2004 — From Hank Williams to Roy Rogers, from Elvis to John Lennon, only one man made clothing that was fabulous enough to be worn by the undeniable legends of Country and Rock and Roll music. Only one man set stage fashion on its end, and clothed Hollywood’s elite. This man was the first ever to put rhinestones on clothing, and certainly the first to put them on a Cadillac. He was the Original Rodeo Tailor—Nudie Cohn. Now comes the first book ever to tell the whole story of this larger-than-life personality, Nudie the Rodeo Tailor: The Life and Times of the Original Rhinestone Cowboy (Gibbs Smith, Publisher, $29.95 HC, 1-58685-381-3, 10 x 9 in., 160 pgs., 150 Photos, May) by Jamie Lee Nudie and Mary Lynn Cabrall.

Born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1902, Nudie Cohn built an impeccable reputation as one of the most sought after clothiers in Los Angeles... all on a few sparkly G-strings. Nudie Cohn’s first store (Nudie’s for the Ladies in New York City) featured lavishly ornamented G-strings and stage costumes, and allowed him to build distinction as a master tailor with a taste for the flashy. After a few years, Nudie turned his attention to western clothing, and became the first person to incorporate rhinestones into cowboy dress. It was the $10,000 gold suit that he made for Elvis Presley that rocketed Nudie to stardom and cemented his status in fashion history; Nudie would go on to design clothing for Elton John, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, Johnny Cash, Cher, Liberace, Eric Clapton, and the rock bands America and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Nudie demolished the boundaries of fashion and cast a far-reaching influence over the clothing worn by celebrities of every genre, from small screen to big, in country and rock music, and beyond.

From his silver-dollar-and-steer-horn-studded convertible Cadillac, to his skills on the mandolin, to his “everyday” wardrobe that consisted of his own rhinestone suits and unmatched boots (to commemorate his humble beginnings—at one time, he couldn’t even afford a matching pair of shoes). When he died in 1984, the entertainment world lost one of its most colorful figures. Nudie the Rodeo Tailor chronicles the life of the man who embodies the American dream itself, with an amazing selection of photographs of suits, clothing, accessories, and of Nudie himself with the hundreds of clients and friends he made through the years. Nudie the Rodeo Tailor is the most comprehensive and handsome book on Nudie Cohn and his clothing ever created—a long overdue testament to his spirit and talent.

Jamie Lee Nudie was born to Barbara Cohn and Sun Studio-sensation Jimmy Wilson in North Hollywood, California. The granddaughter of Nudie and Bobbie grew up in Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors, greeting the stars and clientele with the same friendly persona. Jamie has three children and lives in the San Fernando Valley.  She is currently working on many projects pertaining to the Nudie legacy. Mary Lynn Cabrall has always dreamed of becoming a cowgirl. She learned leather tooling and later took up the art of machine embroidery.  Today, Mary Lynn and Jamie Lee work to re-create the Nudie magic. Leatherwork, silverwork, embroidery, rhinestones, and the best rodeo tailoring money can buy can be still be ordered from Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors.

Founded in 1969, Gibbs Smith, Publisher specializes in books on design and architecture, and also features titles from categories including western, holiday, cooking, inspiration and children’s (featuring the celebrated Sierra Club Books for Children series). In addition to Nudie the Rodeo Tailor, Gibbs Smith, Publisher offers western titles including The Art of the Boot and 100 Years of Western Wear by Tyler Beard and Jim Arndt, and The Cowboy Hat Book by Ritch Rand and William Reynolds.

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