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7 iconic outfits from woodstock

From Jimi Hendrix's beaded fringe jacket to Janis Joplin's tie-dye, a look at the music festival's legendary fashion 50 years later.

by Brittany Natale
16 August 2019, 6:02pm

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Fifty years ago, Woodstock brought together over 30 musical acts and hundreds of thousands of spectators for what would become a legendary music festival. Over the course of a wet summer weekend at Yasgur's Farm in Bethel, New York, performers such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead took the stage. It was a celebration of peace, music, and love, driven by the 60s hippie movement.

In addition to the unforgettable performances, the iconic festival delivered style moments that ultimately helped define a generation. In honor of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, i-D takes a look at some of its many memorable looks:

Joe Cocker
Before there was North West dressed in Collina Strada tie-dye, there was English musician Joe Crocker donning the popular design at Woodstock decades earlier. During the third and final day of the festival, then then lesser-known Cocker wowed the audience with a powerfully gritty cover of the Beatles’ 1967 hit, “With a Little Help From My Friends”. The performance proved to be so monumental that it actually ended up catapulting Cocker’s career, cementing his name in rock history for generations to come. However, his music was not the only detail that ended up permeating time — the tie-dye look he famously wore during that summer of love continuously appears in runway collections, including those of Prada, Dior, Proenza Schouler, and more, until this day, proving that it is the trend that never dies.

Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix took the stage as the last performer of the festival, giving the crowd of over 400,000 an electrifying rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” dressed in a beaded and fringed denim jacket with blue bell bottoms. Throughout the years Hendrix became known for his eclectic style, which was greatly influenced by 19th century military uniforms, Japanese kimonos, psychedelia, and the place he called home later in life — England. Velvet, ruffles, lace, embroidery, and tons of floral patterns often acted as the foundation of the musician’s signature wardrobe.

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane
Grace Slick of the folk-rock band Jefferson Airplane was the epitome of rock and roll cool especially during the group’s 8AM Saturday performance at Woodstock. The Illinois native belted hits such as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” while dressed in an all-white ensemble featuring a leather tunic vest, bell bottoms, and a whole lot of fringe. The style of this time was greatly inspired by Native American, South American, and Indian clothing. Fringe, for instance, was historically integrated into Native American dress not only for decoration, but also for practicality as fringe helps the garment repel rainwater.

Sha Na Na
A young band from New York City, named Sha Na Na, took the festival stage early Monday morning dressed in all gold—even going as far as to spray paint their boots just moments before jumping into song. Although virtually unknown at the time, their gold outfits, which would become their hallmark look, still make appearances in runway collections, including those of Comme des Garçons, Chanel, and even Christian Dior. Maybe even more interesting, however, is the young performers’ backstory: The band, which formed just earlier that year, originally came together as a doo wop group while attending New York City’s Columbia University. After just a few shows, they were discovered by a fellow Woodstock musician while singing in a Manhattan nightclub and ultimately landed the upstate gig. The musician who discovered them was Jimi Hendrix.

Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone not only brought funk and soul but also incredible style when they performed at Woodstock. During their 3:30 a.m. slot, all of its members wore psychedelic outfits including bell bottoms, bright colors, and feathered hats. Maybe most memorable however was frontman Sly Stone’s elaborate outfit consisting of oversized glasses, gold chains, fringe, and extravagant fur boots. This, unsurprisingly, was just one of his countless iconic fashion moments. For example, five years after Woodstock he and his wife, Kathy Silva, wed during his concert at Madison Square Garden dressed in all-gold outfits designed by Halston.

Janis Joplin
Singer Janis Joplin is a musician who has become synonymous with 60s counterculture. Joplin could frequently be seen wearing bell sleeves, tinted glasses, shearling coats, knit sets, and velvet pants — with her stage outfits at Woodstock punctuated by tie-dye. Her expression of style, however, did not just end with clothing. In addition to her unique wardrobe choices, Joplin also drove a 1965 Porsche 356C Cabriolet that was painted in eye-catching psychedelic designs.

The Who
From mod looks comprised of tailored coats and short haircuts, to their festival outfits including bell bottoms and plenty of fringe, The Who’s style throughout the years has been ever-evolving. For their early Sunday Woodstock performance lead singer Roger Daltrey decided on a buckskin suede suit with leather fringe and a beaded back. He recently told the New York Times that he wore this outfit because he wanted to create a “mystical character” while performing The Who’s “Tommy”. The suit is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead
Chaco sandals, R13 runway collections, Burberry tanks, Missoni pullovers, ice cream—this is just a short list of some of the areas outside of music the Grateful Dead has had an influence on throughout the years. Since their formation in 1965, the Palo Alto band’s presence has been palpable and remains so until this day. One of the most recognizable members of the band was frontman Jerry Garcia, who is pictured here offstage, wearing his iconic tinted glasses—an accessory that would infiltrate fashion runways and collections nearly half a century later.
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7 Iconic Outfits