We went to Nashville in early May for a fabulous little mini-vacation. There is a lot to do so I know we missed some things. Craft South had to be cut from our list for time. Next time! We did get to Textile Fabric Store, Tennessee’s largest fabric store. I did not take any pictures because I was a little overwhelmed. There was so much to see and touch that I couldn’t decide on anything to take home! There was a very nice hot pink silk decorated with black cats that I hemmed and hawed over for a bit, and then decided that I don’t really care for hot pink all that much. Oh well!
What really caught my eye in Nashville were the museums full of stunning, original, performance outfits! Oh my god, the sparkle! Before I left my boss told me to look up Nudie suits. I don’t have much of a background in country music with the exception of everything Dolly Parton and some classics like, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline so I had never heard of such a thing. (Also, Dolly is a classic, now and forever.)
Nuta Kotlyarenko, known professionally as Nudie Cohn due to a misspelling on his immigration papers, was born in 1902 in Kiev, Ukraine and came to the US at the age of 11. He became a tailor in New York City and then he moved to North Hollywood and opened “Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors: Everything for the horse and rider…” In 1951 Lefty Frizzell commissioned a shirt that would make him stand out from the usual western shirts and the Nudie’s western style, as we know it, was born. That’s how the museum official story goes, anyway. Nathan Turk was a Polish immigrant that also worked in California designing intricate, flashy outfits for country music performers. There is some talk that his flashy suits came first. Who knows?
Below is a Lefty Frizzell Nudie suit in the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s pink, it has rhinestones, and fringe. I love this suit for multiple reasons; rhinestones, pink, fringe. Men who were not afraid to wear pink and sparklies.
Turk suits and Nudie suits are really works of art. I think it is so interesting that the artists who determined the way that American country western music would be perceived for decades, were from Poland and the Ukraine! Iconography is a big part of Russian art history and especially Russian religious art history. It seems to be a clear influence in these pieces, to me!
Above is Hank Williams Nudie suit in the Country Music Hall of Fame. A reproduction of this suit is featured prominently in the biopic with Tom Hiddleston, “I Saw The Light.” Right around the corner, tucked behind the Hank Williams suit at the Country Music Hall of Fame is Nudie’s personal sewing machine. (One of many I assume!) I love that there is a naked lady decoupaged on the table top! I wish there was some text with it, basically I found it because I was looking for it.
There was only one Dolly Parton outfit, sadly for me. I love her! I want to be her when I grow up!
Dottie West outfit with some of the greatest fringe-work I have ever seen!
At the Ryman they had a few original outfits like this Kitty Wells dress, but most of the outfits were reproductions and outfits from the show “Nashville.”
Patsy Cline has some of the best outfits that sort of remind me of my grandmother. They are petite and classy, and they sparkle. I want shoes like this!
So I knew I loved Dolly outfits, but I found out that I also love June Carter Cash’s outfits at the Johnny Cash Musuem. Look at this stunning white dress with the purple sash that she wore to the white house!
June Carter’s lace dress.
The Carter Family singers outfits and one of Johnny Cash’s long coats.
I highly recommend a visit to Nashville, if not just to oogle the sparkly outfits!