Today, Miley Cyrus released her new song “Week Without You” from her forthcoming record Younger Now. The song itself is admittedly boring but the official album art for her record, which features her wearing a jewel encrusted, Nudie suit-inspired leather outfit, is the most interesting thing about it. And like a lot of Cyrus’s recent makeover into (or return to?) being a country star, the outfit harkens back to the best look in country music: the Nudie Suit.
The signature design of Nashville tailor Nudie Cohn, the Nudie Suit was known for its elaborate, intricate embroidered and sequined designs. And all the cool kids wore ’em: Glenn Campbell, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams. I think most people associate them with country singer Gram Parsons and his band The Flying Burrito Brothers, seen here wearing them.
Nudie Cohn passed away in 1984 but the suit lives on, becoming popular outside of country music, particularly in the last decade or so. Here, I present a recent, nearly decades-long history of the Nudie Suit:
2017: Miley Cyrus wears a leather Nudie Suit on her Younger Now album cover and goes to the VMAS in a baby blue, Elvis-inspired Jeremy Scott suit.
2016: Lady Gaga collaborates with Manuel, Cohn’s son-in-law and designer who is keeping the trend alive, for Joanne. That same year Kesha shows up to the Billboard Music Awards in a Nudie Suit and later the look will become a central part of her new record, Rainbow.
2014: Jenny Lewis takes up a rainbow Nudie Suit uniform for her record The Voyager. She calls the look “graffiti Gram Parsons.”
2013: Arcade Fire wear embroidered and painted suits while promoting their record Reflektor that, while not totally falling into the Nudie Suit model, are loose interpretations of the look.
At the same time Karen O is rocking a series of brightly colored embroidered, fringed, and gem-covered suits for the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Mosquito tour.
2013: Jack White, forever the cowboy attire enthusiast, performs at the Grammys in a black Nudie Suit.
2009: Jeff Tweedy of Wilco wears a Nudie Suit on the cover of SPIN magazine, and the band wears them while touring.
More recently, a version on the Nudie Suit popped up this year in Gucci’s new collection this week, reportedly inspired by Bob Mackie’s designs Elton John (who himself wore a Nudie Suit often in the 1970s). So while the outfit may be a whole lotta look, the suit, in all its glittery, colorful, country-western glory, keeps going strong.