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Rock and pop costume

Rock and pop costume

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1974 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Whitten, Bill (costume designer)

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Reginald Dwight (Sir Elton John)

  • Museum number:

    S.231 to S.233&A-1977

  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, Room 106, case 6A, shelf 2 []

Elton John started performing as a pub singer at the age of 15, working his way up the music industry ladder by playing in bands with his friends, eventually becoming a staff songwriter for DJM Records. On gaining a record contract in 1970, at the age of 23, his live performance became bigger and more flamboyant. Backed by a large catalogue of ballads and piano rock, his scintillating stage shows involved him performing in wild costumes such as this one.
Designed by Bill Whitten, this costume was known as 'Bicycle John' and John wore it on his 1974 American tour. The lurex fabric is decorated with a bicycle bell, mudguards, reflectors, and handlebar covers and the platform soles and four inch heels of the boots are covered with multi-coloured glass rhinestones. A matching bicycle was also created, covered in rhinestones corresponding with those of the platform soles.

Bill Whitten is a costume designer to pop stars and for Hollywood film. His designs have included iconic costumes for Michael Jackson, Earth Wind and Fire and Lionel Richie and movies including the 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer, and tend towards the camp and flamboyant .

Physical description

'Bicycle John' costume worn by Elton John, ca.1974-75

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1974 (made)

Artist/maker

Whitten, Bill (costume designer)

Dimensions

Height: 160 cm, Width: 65 cm, Depth: 35 cm

Object history note

Elton John is believed to have worn this outfit on his 1974-75 American tour

Descriptive line

'Bicycle John' costume worn by Elton John, ca.1974-75

Labels and date

‘Bicycle John’ stage costume worn by Elton John
1974–5

Elton John, famed for the flamboyance of his stage costumes, is believed to have worn this outfit as part of his 1974–5 American tour. Made of Lurex, it is decorated with a bicycle bell, mudguards, reflectors and handlebar covers. The platform soles and heels of the boots are covered with multi-coloured glass rhinestones.

Lurex, metal, plastic and glass
Designed by Bill Whitten
Given by Reginald Dwight (Sir Elton John)
Museum nos. S.231 to 233&A-1977 []

Subjects depicted

Bicycles

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Stage costumes

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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