My husband played a huge role in my exposure to the amazing tailoring of Nudie and Turk and Manuel. He has an original Nathan Turk shirt that I think he was wearing the first time we met. They're exquisitely crafted and utterly dazzling.
Here's a history in images, beginning with Rodeo Ben. Opening his business in the 1920's, Rodeo Ben went on to design the cowboy jean for Wrangler. Rodeo Ben was a Polish born Philadelphian who clothed stars like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
Succeeding Rodeo Ben was Nathan Turk, a Van Nuys, California-based tailor during the 1940s and 50s. His clients included Patsy Cline, Elvis, and Dale Evens.
This burgundy colored shirt is my husband's Turk shirt from the 50s.
Shortly following Turk was the great Rodeo Tailor Nudie Cohn. While country singers were well into the ornamental cowboy suit, it was Nudie's relationship with Gram Parsons that introduced the style to rock and roll. However, it was Nudie's successor Manuel, who designed all of Gram's own suits.
Here are some of Nudie's greatest pieces...
left: Porter Waggoner's suit
right: Hank Williams' most famous suit
The following photos are Nudie himself in one of his most famous suits. This is my favorite suit ever.
These Nudie photos come from the official web site, Nudies Rodeo Tailors Official Website.
Next came Manuel, who moved from his native Mexico to Los Angeles in the 50s. In the 1960s, Manuel joined Nudie as his head tailor. A marriage to and divorce from Nudie's daughter prompted Manuel to break away and start his own business. In the late 1980's Manuel moved his business to Nashville--Manuel's Exclusive Clothier's. Manuel has clothed everyone from Johnny Cash to John Lennon. Here are some of his pieces...
Amazingly, it's pretty hard to find a good selection of photos of Manuel's work.
Here's Gram Parson in his 1969 Nudie Suit, designed by Manuel and the suits Manuel made for the Beatles' Sgt Pepper.
You can visit the Manuel~The Legend web site to find out more about him.
Or, if you're in Nashville, you can stop by the store,
Manuel's Exclusive Clothiers
Nashville, Tennessee 37203