This photo-driven book documents the life and work of legendary tailor Nudie Cohn, whose eccentric pieces of wearable art were worn by countless country, rock and pop musicians, everyone from Elvis to Elton John. The free-for-all that is Japanese street fashion is undeniably more outlandish, but if you keep in mind how Nudie made everyone look like Liberace (even macho country boys in the conservative ’50s!), his work becomes all the more inspiring. There are numerous, thicker retrospectives with glossy snapshots of flashy rodeo wear, but this is the only book that focuses entirely on Nudie.
His story is so enticing I don’t know why no one’s written a comprehensive, narrative non-fiction biography about him: After immigrating from Russia, he became an amateur boxer, spent time hitchhiking coast to coast and eventually started fashioning clothes and costumes out of his garage in the ’40s. If you’re a serious seamster or occasional stitch ‘n bitcher, his embroidery will get your juices flowing. If you’re a home crafter or tinkerer with big aspirations, here’s another fine example of what’s possible.