Rock and Pop Costume

ca. 1974 (made)
Rock and Pop Costume thumbnail 1
Rock and Pop Costume thumbnail 2
+7
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Theatre & Performance, Room 106
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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 .


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Theatre Costume
  • Rock and Pop Costume
  • Jacket
  • Theatre Costume
  • Rock and Pop Costume
  • Trousers
  • Theatre Costume
  • Rock and Pop Costume
  • Boot
  • Theatre Costume
  • Rock and Pop Costume
  • Boot
Brief Description
'Bicycle John' costume worn by Elton John, ca.1974-75
Physical Description
'Bicycle John' costume worn by Elton John, ca.1974-75
Dimensions
  • Height: 160cm
  • Width: 65cm
  • Depth: 35cm
Gallery Label
‘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
Credit line
Given by Reginald Dwight (Sir Elton John)
Object history
Elton John is believed to have worn this outfit on his 1974-75 American tour
Subject depicted
Summary
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 .
Collection
Accession Number
S.231 to S.233&A-1977

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record createdJuly 16, 2008
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