7 of elton john’s most iconic outfits
There is nothing the Rocketman couldn't bedazzle, feather, or otherwise glam up.
“Tiny Dancer,” “Your Song,” “Bennie and the Jets” — for nearly half a century Sir Elton John has provided the soundtrack for people’s lives. But his sound is not the only thing that has become his signature — his outrageous style certainly has too. Known for taking traditional silhouettes and flipping them on their head — sequined blazers, metallic tracksuits, exaggerated platforms — John’s flamboyant fashion choices throughout the years have been just as colorful as his career. Even decades later his influence infiltrates the minds of younger generations. Just look at Gucci’s Spring 18 collection, which drew inspiration directly from the rock legend’s archives.
In honor of the recently released biopic, Rocketman, i-D highlights 7 of John’s many many memorable style moments throughout his illustrious career.
Bedazzled Los Angeles Dodgers uniform, 1975
In 1975 John wowed thousands as he performed onstage at Dodgers Stadium in a sequined baseball uniform. The bedazzled suit was made by none other than the inimitable Bob Mackie, who was also responsible for bringing to life a countless number of Cher’s costumes right around the same time. Impressed by the pieces Mackie had been creating for Cher, John actually asked Mackie if he too could design some for him. Decades later this ensemble is still having an impact on fashion — in fact, Harry Styles wore a recreation of the iconic outfit this past Halloween while out celebrating in Los Angeles.
Custom Gucci designed by Alessandro Michele for the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” Tour, 2018
Alessandro Michele has been busy chairing this year’s Met Gala, red carpet-ing with celebrities such as Lana Del Rey and Jared Leto, and making bold runway collections. In fall of 2018, Michele also added another project to his CV — outfitting Elton John in custom Gucci for the musician’s final worldwide tour, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road,” which kicked off last September. Embellished jackets, rhinestone-encrusted glasses, floral embroideries, and patterned robes were the focal point of the transformative wardrobe.
John's 50th birthday celebration, 1997
For his 50th birthday celebration at the Hammersmith Palais, the singer wore an elaborately designed outfit which was a pastiche of royal 18th century garbs. Complete with a towering silver wig, a 15-foot train, and a barrage of sequins, the extraordinary costume elicited visions of Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV. With ensembles such as this, John continuously has proven that his flair for theatrics and excess exists marvelously both on and off the stage.
Mod outfits of the early 70s
In the early years of John’s career, he often wore pared down pieces, such as denim overalls, flared pants, and lightweight long-sleeved shirts in bold colors, with boots bought from Gohill’s in North London. These early clothing choices often straddled the line between ordinary and eccentric, and acted as a precursor to the musician’s more daring fashion decisions that came to be just a few short years later.
Feathered jackets and rhinestone glasses
John’s outfits often pushed the envelope and blurred the lines not only between genders, but between fantasy and reality. In this 1973 shot by photographer Terry O’Neill, John is pictured wearing a custom feather-lined creation by Bob Mackie along with a pair of glasses — an accessory he became most well-known for.
Elton John’s collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto
John tapped Japanese designer, Yohji Yamamoto, in the early 00’s to create custom stage wear for his Las Vegas residency, as well as various tours. Yamamoto, who is known for his dark designs and partnerships with Adidas, collaborated with the singer on a number of pieces that featured deep velvets, draped fabrics, and brightly accented blazers. John wore these creations from 2003 to 2010.
Don’t let the singer fool you — although it sometimes feels as if sequins and glitter were made just for him, John has proven that he can wear a tracksuit just as well as an elaborately constructed stage costume. Throughout the years, he has been photographed wearing tracksuits from a bevy of different brands including Adidas, Puma, Ecko, and even Gucci.