You can’t sound good if you don’t look good…..
Nudie the Tailor, was born in Kiev, Ukraine 1902 on this date.
His parents sent him at age 11 America. For a time he criss-crossed the country, working as a shoeshine boy and later a boxer, and hanging out, he later claimed, with the gangster Pretty Boy Floyd. While living in a boardinghouse in Minnesota he met Helen “Bobbie” Kruger, and married her in 1934. In the midst of the Great Depression the newlyweds moved to New York City and opened their first store, “Nudie’s for the Ladies”, specializing in custom-made undergarments for showgirls.
In 1947 Cohn persuaded a young, struggling country singer named Tex Williams to buy him a sewing machine with the proceeds of an auctioned horse. In exchange, Cohn made clothing for Williams. As their creations gained a following, the Cohns opened “Nudie’s of Hollywood” on the corner of Victory and Vineland in North Hollywood, dealing exclusively in western wear, a style very much in fashion at the time.
Cohn’s designs brought the already-flamboyant western style to a new level of ostentation with the liberal use of rhinestones and themed images in chain stitch embroidery. One of his early designs, in 1962, for singer Porter Wagoner, was a peach-colored suit featuring rhinestones, a covered wagon on the back, and wagon wheels on the legs. He offered the suit to Wagoner for free, confident that the popular performer (like Tex Williams) would serve as a billboard for his clothing line. His confidence proved justified and the business grew rapidly.He also customized cars.
Anybody who was anybody wore a Nudie suit…from John Lennon, Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Hank Snow, Hank Williams sr, Porter Wagoner, Gene Autry, ZZ Top, etc;
Nudie Cohn died in 1984 at the age of 81. Numerous celebrities and long-time customers attended his funeral. The eulogy was delivered by Dale Evans. Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors remained open for an additional ten years under the ownership of Nudie’s widow Bobbie and granddaughter Jamie, and closed in 1994.
Cohn’s creations, particularly those with celebrity provenance, remain popular with Country/Western and show business collectors, and continue to command high prices when they come on the market. In December 2009, for example, a white Nudie stage shirt owned by Roy Rogers, decorated with blue tassels and red musical notes, sold for $16,250 at a Christie’s auction.
I’m sure Marty Stuart has a few in his Country Music collection……..all I want for Christmas is a Nudie suit.