Rhinestone Cowboy is the rags-to-rhinestone story of the legendary Nudie Cohn, the son of a Jewish bootmaker, who fled religious persecution in his native Russia and escaped to New York in 1913, at age eleven, to pursue his American dream of designing clothes for western film and music stars. Surviving the depression and multiple setbacks, Nudie persevered to create the spectacularly embroidered, sparkling garments made famous by scores of entertainers from Roy Rogers to Elvis Presley, Grand Ole Opry stars Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner, rock’n’rollers like the Rolling Stones, Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Sir Elton John – and worn most recently at the 2019 Oscars ceremony by nominated songwriters Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings.
On Memorial Day weekend we attended the Nashville Boogie at Opryland. The highlight for us was seeing all the great Nudie-inspired creations at Saturday’s Western Round-Up Fashion Show, curated by designer Riley Reed. In addition to being welcomed most graciously by the vivacious and talented Ms. Reed, we met designers Jerry Lee Atwood, of Union Western; Jess Hannebut Snell, of Rockin’ B; Sarie Gessner of Jukebox Mama, and Vera Vasiley of HBarC. You can see some images from the fashion show here on the GALLERY PAGE.
The next Tuesday, we filmed interviews with Jerry Lee Atwood, Jess Hannebut Snell, Riley Reed, British designer & Nudie scholar Janet Aspley whose Dandy & Rose shirts bring gorgeous Liberty of London prints to traditional western styling. It’s a match made in heaven! Last but by no means least, we interviewed Katy K, of Ranch Dressing, whose Nudie-esque designs and curated vintage collections have inspired so many contemporary designers. In fact, here Jerry Lee Atwood pays homage to Katy K in one of her designs from the 1980s.
On Wednesday, we interviewed the great Manuel Cuevas at his new Nashville shop. At 86 he is still going strong and creating dazzling bespoke garments that would make Nudie, his former mentor, proud.
The overwhelming support of the Nashville community and Boogie attendees strengthened our conviction that the time is right for “Rhinestone Cowboy!”
New York based Holly flew out to California on June 16 to interview the legendary Chris Hillman, founding member of the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers & the Desert Rose Band. Chris regaled us with stories and insights about stage style. We were mesmerized by his charm, wit and humor. He brought along some of his favorite Manuel-designed outfits, pictured here. The Museum of Ventura County generously provided the location.
What’s next? Interviews with Dwight Yoakam. Dolly Parton, Marty Stuart, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings and Jim Lauderdale are in the works….. and we have a long wish list of performers, designers, curators and collectors whom we hope to lasso. Meanwhile, we are collecting other visual and audio elements and editing a new promotional video to entice distributors. We have interest, and just need to deliver a “sizzle reel” to take us to the next level.
Our very successful Kickstarter has brought us to this point but we need funds to keep going. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to Rhinestone Cowboy you may do so though the wonderful Center for Independent Documentary by clicking HERE.
Producer/Director/Writer Petrine Day Mitchum is an author and former Hollywood story editor and analyst for The Ladd Company, Pathe, TriStar Pictures and DreamWorks. She is an award-winning filmmaker whose short films (Under The Thinking Cap, with artist Pippa Garner and Out of Gas, with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer in a spoof of their film noir classic, Out of the Past) have appeared on Saturday Night Live! In 2018, Out of Gas was licensed by Turner Classic Movies. Petrine was a co-producer of Stewart/Mitchum, Two Faces of America, a documentary about James Stewart and Robert Mitchum. The critically acclaimed feature documentary was licensed by Turner Classic Movies and debuted on the TCM Channel in January, 2019.
Petrine co-wrote Nudie’s memoir with him in 1978 and has hours of original recordings of Nudie and his famous clients, making her uniquely poised to tell his story.
Producer/Director/Writer Holly George-Warren is a two-time Grammy nominee and an award-winning writer, editor, and music consultant. She’s served as a producer and consulting producer on several documentary films, including Muscle Shoals (which premiered at Sundance in 2013); the 2014 and 2013 PBS films Hitmakers and Nashville 2.0; Barbara Kopple’s Woodstock Now and Then, and as a commentator/writer on the PBS documentary Women Who Rock, among others, including programming on CBS (CBS Sunday Morning), NBC, the Biography Channel, MTV, CMT, VH1, and others.
The co-author of “How The West Was Worn,” (Abrams) which was a companion to a museum show at the Autry National Center, Holly is an authority on the history of western fashion.
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