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Elton John’s top 8 iconic outfits throughout the years

By Mishal Cazmi


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May 24, 2019
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By Mishal Cazmi

In partnership with Rocketman

Elton John’s bold fashion choices have always been as memorable as his remarkable career trajectory.

The 72-year-old award-winning singer-songwriter’s eccentric and flamboyant style garnered as much attention as his chart-topping hits like “Bennie and the Jets” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

Over the course of a career spanning almost six decades, he worked with some of the best costume designers and fashion houses in the world such as Bob Mackie, Versace, Yohji Yamamoto and Gucci.

Part of Elton’s sartorial showmanship came from the fact that he wasn’t running around the stage like his contemporaries Mick Jagger and David Bowie.

“I’m always bloody stuck at the piano, aren’t I? Clothes have always had to be part of the show that I put on,” he recently told The New York Times.

Elton’s signature sunglasses, just like his extravagant costumes, bolstered his on-stage persona and allowed him to be a fearless performer.

On the heels of his biopic, Rocketman, we take a look back at some of his most iconic looks.

Photos: © Getty Images / David Appleby/Paramount Pictures

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1. A Star is Born (1970)

Elton’s fashion choices were decidedly less flashy at the beginning of his career. In fact, many of his stage clothes were store-bought long before he started working with designers.

His go-to outfit during this time was denim overalls in several different “mod” shades accompanied by a long-sleeved shirt underneath, the most memorable of which was black-and-white and embroidered with stars.

Elton wore this particular ensemble on Aug. 25, 1970 when he made his American debut at the Troubadour, the legendary nightclub in Los Angeles. It was the first of his six-show residency, marking his rise to stardom.

Photo: © David Appleby/Paramount Pictures

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3. Birds of a Feather (1973)

As Elton’s star power grew bigger, his fashion choices became bolder as well. The seventies saw the singer-songwriter in flashy, larger-than-life costumes.

His most important fashion collaborator during this time was costume designer Bob Mackie. The Hollywood designer was working with Cher, dressing her in showy feathers and furs when Elton reached out and requested if Bob could create something similarly flashy and over-the-top for the singer.

Elton wearing the white bomber jacket exemplifies the kind of looks Bob created for him–ostentatious with plenty of embellishments like feathers and sequins.

Photo: © David Appleby/Paramount Pictures

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4. Dazzling in Diamonds (1975)

In October 1975, Elton performed two sold-out shows at the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. It was the first rock concert that was held in the stadium since The Beatles performed there almost a decade prior in 1966.

Bob was once again responsible for one of the most memorable outfits of Elton’s career: a sequined rendition of the L.A. Dodgers uniform. The sparkly, custom Dodgers outfit had the word “Elton” written on the back in capital letters and was accessorized with a matching blue cap.

The concerts were captured by photographer Terry O’Neill and cemented their place in history as one of Elton’s most iconic performances.

Photo: © David Appleby/Paramount Pictures

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5. Head over Heels (1986)

In 1986, Elton embarked on the Tour de Force concert tour in Australia, which was accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Bob returned to design the costumes for the 26-stop tour. The over-the-top outfits didn’t just include clothing; offbeat accessories like zany sunglasses and even colourful wigs were also thrown into the mix.

During his sets, Elton rocked a variety of wigs, including a mohawk, ones that resembled Tina Turner’s hair and even a powdered wig to go with his Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart costume.

Photo: © Getty Images

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6. Love, Versace (1991)

Versace became one of Elton’s go-to fashion houses in the ‘90s, thanks to Elton’s close friendship with Gianni Versace. He’d often wear the designer’s pieces.

The most notable? A purple print silk suit he wore with a matching Nike cap to Planet Hollywood’s launch party in New York in 1991, which he attended alongside Gianni’s sister, Donatella.

In 1992, Gianni designed the artwork for Elton’s 24th studio album, The One. He also oversaw the wardrobe and set design for the world tour that followed.

The album became Elton’s biggest selling record in the U.S. since 1975.

Photo: © Getty Images

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7. Birthday Suit (1997)

Off stage, Elton still had a flair for the extravagant. The star was known for lavish birthday parties, many of which he celebrated while on tour. He rang in his 50th birthday in April 1997 with 600 guests.

Elton turned heads as soon as he arrived at Hammersmith Palais in London with partner David Furnish, decked out in a silver-and-white costume festooned with fur.

Dressed as King Louis XIV, he wore a wig that was three-feet tall and topped with a miniature Spanish war ship and cannon. The legendary affair is known as the last extravagant bash thrown in his honour.

Photo: © Getty Images

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8. Match Made in Heaven (2018/19)

For his final Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, which kicked off in September 2018, Elton commissioned Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele to create a full stage wardrobe for the musician.

Elton and Alessandro met in Los Angeles a few years ago where they were introduced by actor Jared Leto.

Alessandro, a longtime fan of the singer-songwriter, even included tributes in his spring-summer 2018 collection to Elton’s on-stage costumes. Elton is similarly a fan and admitted to never having worn a designer “en masse” like this since Gianni died in 1997.

Alessandro’s eclectic vision aligns perfectly with Elton’s own aesthetic. One of the standout pieces from the tour is a custom floral brocade jacket. The three-year tour concludes on Dec. 16, 2020 in the U.K.

Photo: © Getty Images