You’ve seen Bohemian Rhapsody, an Oscar-nominated biopic about the rise and rise of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Now, here’s another film to add to your To Watch list Rocketman, a musical-meets-autobiographical flick that chronicles the life of Sir Elton John. Starring Taron Egerton as the English superstar, the movie is filled with soaring choreographed numbers befitting one of music’s most enduring icons.
We say it’s about damn time someone made a film about John. Like his contemporaries Prince and David Bowie, the 72-year-old has carved out an impressive five-decade-and-counting career by marrying hit tunes with a larger-than-life stage persona. To say that John is a fashion chameleon is an understatement—from sequins to feathers, the enigmatic performer has worn them all. It’s a tough job picking out some of John’s most iconic looks (trust us, with a career like his, he’s got plenty), but we’ve managed to round up some of our favourite hits nonetheless. Check them out below:
Birds of a Feather
John parlayed his irrepressible flamboyance into costumes that were as OTT as his personality. They not only rewrote the rules of good taste but also pushed the boundaries of gender norms in the later half of the 20th century. Between bedazzled jumpsuits and embroidered jackets, feathers were a mainstay in his sartorial repertoire. We’re guessing he’s worn more of those than any of the Victoria’s Secret Angels combined.
There are stage outfits, and then there are stage outfits that have come to define pop culture. Madonna’s conical bras; Freddie Mercury’s yellow jacket-plus-white jeans combo; Michael Jackson’s red-and-black leather jacket… the list goes on and on. In 1975, John hit a home run when he performed to a packed Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles dressed in a baseball uniform. It was no ordinary baseball uniform, mind you. John commissioned influential American designer Bob Mackie to work on the costume, which was sequinned down to every inch. And from the moment John stepped out on stage belting out “The Bitch Is Back”, his entire being sparkling in the spotlight, fashion history was made.
Through the Looking Glass
There’s no denying John’s obsession with funky sunglasses, and we’re all the better for it. From giant bug-eyed versions to shimmering cat-eye iterations, they only serve to emphasise John’s unapologetic sense of style and penchant for everything campy and dramatic.
This next fashion moment doesn’t involve a specific ensemble or accessory per se, but we’re still loving it anyway. For Spring/Summer 2018, Alessandro Michele dug into John’s archive to dream up tribute pieces at Gucci. It was a meeting of kindred spirits that made perfect sense: Michele’s non-conformist, eclectic leaning and magpie-like aesthetic mirror John’s own sartorial obsessions. Following that runway collection, Michele also designed costumes for John’s swan song tour, “Farewell Yellow Brick Road”, which will see him head to various corners of the globe to perform one last time.