Nudie Cohn started his business with a loan from Tex Williams, who auctioned off a horse to pay for the chain stitch sewing machine. The country-western musician was the first of many to wear the designer.
“Colonel Tom Parker came to my grandfather [left, with Presley] and said, ‘I have this new kid. I want to do something spectacular that has never been done before,’ ” says Jamie Nudie of Elvis’ gold lamé suit, which then cost $10,000. It is now on display at Graceland.
Sonny & Cher, 1966
“My grandfather knew Cher before she was Cher — he knew her mother, Jackie,” says Nudie of the singer who, with then-husband Sonny Bono, put on Native American-inspired, suede-fringed Nudie suits.
Gram Parsons, 1969
Already a Nudie devotee, Parsons had the rest of his Flying Burrito Brothers band outfitted in embellished suits for the cover to the group’s 1969 debut album, The Gilded Palace of Sin.
Elton John, 1972
John wore a custom rose-covered style with a star-emblazoned Nudie hat on the cover of his “Rocket Man” single.
Keith Richards, 1974
The Rolling Stones guitarist references Nudie in his 2015 Netflix documentary Under the Influence: “Gram Parsons used to pass his cast-offs to me. I did have one of Gram’s Nudie suits. ... We used to go ’round there. What a madman!” says Richards, who performed in a red UFO-themed version.
Sly Stone, 1974
Vintage Gene Autry looks may have been the inspiration, but such stars as Stone, Jerry Garcia and ZZ Top introduced a rock’n’roll edge to Cohn’s designs.
Dolly Parton, 1975
Though it was the country star’s longtime duet partner, Porter Wagoner, who was better-known for his Nudie collection, Parton owned a few herself, including a yellow jumpsuit that she wore on the album cover of The Best of Dolly Parton, Vol. 2 (above).
Johnny Cash, 1976
The country icon wore a bald eagle- and star-embellished suit for his 1976 bicentennial tour. “He bought a lot -- but it was all black,” recalls Nudie.
David Lee Roth, 1990
Though Cohn died in 1984, his wife, Bobbie, and granddaughter Nudie kept the North Hollywood shop open until 1994, continuing to cater to stars like Roth, who donned a Native American-themed jacket.