Meet Cowboy Fashion Designer Nudie Cohn


[SEWING MACHINE] [ MUSIC PLAYING] ADRI MURGUIA: Hey,
this is Adri. And we’re here in Santa Clarita
Valley to meet up with Jamie Nudie, who is Nudie
Cohn’s granddaughter. And she is carrying
on his legacy. Let’s go find out what
this is about. Hi. How are you? JAMIE NUDIE: I’m great. How are you? ADRI MURGUIA: Good. I’m Adri. JAMIE NUDIE: Nice to meet you. I’m Jamie. Please come in. My grandfather was Nudie. He went by one name only. He immigrated here from Kiev,
Russia at age 11. He settled in New York. He first started making
g-strings for all the showgirls, and just had
a flair for it. And he traveled to Mankato,
Minnesota, where he met my grandmother. They fell in love, and finally
settled in Hollywood. He loved old Western film. And he’d sit there, and he
thought, gosh, they sort of were missing something
on stage. And he came up with the
idea of putting rhinestones on clothing. He first approached
Lefty Frizzell. And he said, Lefty, if you’ve
got the guts to wear a shirt of mine, I’ll make it for
you, free of charge. If it takes off, you’ll
start to pay me. Lefty got up on stage,
and it was a hit. They got a storefront on Victory
and Vineland in the early ’60s, and approached Roy
and Dale when Roy was working for Republic Studios. And Roy had said to him, I’ve
heard about you around town. And sure I’ll let you
do some work for me. But I want the kid in the
nosebleed section to be able to see me. -It’s the king of the
cowboys, Roy Rogers. And here he is. JAMIE NUDIE: So my grandfather
made shirts for Roy with fringe. And on every piece of fringe
was a rhinestone. And when Roy got up on stage,
that kid in the nosebleed section saw Roy. The lights hit the fringe
and the fringe danced. And it would sway
back and forth. From there it just took off. Everybody had heard of Nudie,
and wanted to come into his business, and have him
make suits for him. This is a vintage that was done
for “Rodeo Queen.” And you can see, who’s got
a waist that small? ADRI MURGUIA: Where did he
get all the rhinestones? JAMIE NUDIE: The rhinestones
were actually shipped in from New York. ADRI MURGUIA: Really? JAMIE NUDIE: Yeah. This was done for an
Elvis impersonator. ADRI MURGUIA: This is
like a replica? JAMIE NUDIE: It’s
a replica, yes. ADRI MURGUIA: This
is so crazy. JAMIE NUDIE: Love
the gold lame. ADRI MURGUIA: Where’s
the original? JAMIE NUDIE: The original
is in Graceland. ADRI MURGUIA: Oh, right. JAMIE NUDIE: Colonel gave
it to the museum. And that’s where the
original’s at. Here’s a photograph. This was probably in the
early ’50s, Oh, ’57. Here’s Colonel here, and
Elvis, and Nudie. Nearly and Colonel Parker
were great friends. Colonel Parker had been manager
for other artists, and Colonel had come to Nudie
and said, I’m taking on this new act. He said, I want you to make
something for him that’s out of this world spectacular. In 1957, the gold lame suit
for Elvis was born. And, as a matter fact, my
mother was a young girl. And Colonel and Nudie got
together and surprised my mother on her 18th birthday,
having Elvis sing. They went on a date. The gold lame suit
was a huge hit. Here is Nudie on the cover of
“Rolling Stone” in 1969, the same year that John and
Yoko are in bed again. I mean, who makes the cover
of “Rolling Stone”? He was an immigrant from Kiev,
Russia, and he makes the cover of “Rolling Stone” in ’69. That’s crazy. ADRI MURGUIA: He looks
so badass. JAMIE NUDIE: Yeah. Not only did Nudie make
a lot of the clothes. But through the 50 years of
business, he made 18 cars. He thought he needed
a calling card. ADRI MURGUIA: Oh my god. I mean, it’s like in perfect– JAMIE NUDIE: It’s in
perfect condition. It has under 30,000
miles on it. ADRI MURGUIA: I have four
guns right here. Just here I have four guns. And you take this out? JAMIE NUDIE: Yeah. He started with a 1950 Hudson,
and went on to Pontiac Bonnevilles. And not too many people had
white cars back in those days. And so he was kind of like the
first to set the market and have a white car, but then put
steerhorns and guns and silver dollars on it. And some cars had embroidered
seats. We called them the horny cars. In the ’70s and in the ’80s,
all the rock groups started wearing them. It wasn’t just Western film. It was Chicago, America, ZZ
Top, Bootsy Collins, Teddy Pendergrass, a lot of rock
groups and stuff that he had done it for. It was something that was
unique, one of a kind, eccentric, very out
of this world. For example, in the ’70s, the
Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram Parsons, him and Nudie were
more like father son. And he looked up to my grandfather as a father figure. Here’s the Flying Burrito
Brothers. There’s Gram Parsons with the
famous pill, marijuana suit. Here’s a replica of
Gram Parsons’s. ADRI MURGUIA: Oh my
god, the pills. JAMIE NUDIE: You can
see the back. ADRI MURGUIA: Love that. Do you ever wear this? JAMIE NUDIE: I do. ADRI MURGUIA: Does
it look cool? JAMIE NUDIE: Now you have
officially been Nudified. ADRI MURGUIA: I’ve
been Nudified. Oh my god, so great. This one is the best. Do you thing you’re going
to bring it back, like you’re going to– JAMIE NUDIE: Oh,
I know I will. ADRI MURGUIA: Yeah? JAMIE NUDIE: Yeah. ADRI MURGUIA: I really
want one. JAMIE NUDIE: Well, you can
get a Nudie T-shirt. I want to be able to educate our
younger generation to know that you can be anybody. And you can do anything if
you set your mind to it. If you have the drive,
and you have the ambition, you can do that. And that’s what I feel as
though I’m here for, to further educate younger
generations, let them know that you can do something
like this. And have an idea, and
let it sparkle. Put a rhinestone on it. [COUNTRY ROCK MUSIC PLAYING]

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