The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, in partnership with Nashville Fashion Week, hosted a program last night (Oct. 12) highlighting the museum’s free-to-access online exhibition Suiting the Sound: The Rodeo Tailors Who Made Country Stars Shine Brighter.
The online exhibit draws from the museum’s galleries and collection of stage costumes and archival materials to present the dazzling artistry of Western-wear designers whose work helped to create an indelible image for country music. The program examined the emergence of the unique “rhinestone cowboy” look in the 1940s and 1950s, largely from the tailor shops of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, and explored how the style has inspired fashion far beyond the stages of barn dances and honky-tonks.
The panel was moderated by Brenda Colladay, vice president of museum services at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and included acclaimed author, historian and filmmaker Holly George-Warren (How the West Was Worn, Public Cowboy #1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry, Janis: Her Life and Music); modern-day “rodeo tailor” Jerry Lee Atwood, whose bespoke designs for his Union Western label have been featured in Vogue and commissioned by performers such as Nikki Lane, Post Malone and Lil Nas X; and singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs, who currently plays bass in Marty Stuart’s Fabulous Superlatives band and fronts his own group, the Stone Fox Five. The panel is available to watch now on the museum’s website.
As part of the partnership, the museum and Nashville Fashion Week offered Middle Tennessee designers and creators an opportunity to participate in a design competition by submitting their personal interpretation of country music stage wear inspired by the museum’s online exhibition. The public was invited to vote for their favorite designs based on quality, creativity and originality from the eight finalists selected by Nashville Fashion Week. The three designs with the most votes were displayed during the program.
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