Elton John is packing up his fabulous outfits and hitting stages for the last time, making a graceful exit from the road at age 75 with his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour. He will, of course, make a stop at Dodger Stadium, where he played one of his most famous concerts in 1975, striding onto the stage in a sequined Dodgers uniform, one of many shimmering costumes he would don during the 3-hour marathon set.
When John played Dodger stadium, his songs had been “hitting the airwaves with a sense of fantastical futurism,” writes Far Out, “all packaged in flamboyant costumes and dressed in number one albums. Loved by critics and adored by fans, he resembled something entirely different.” Different from what?
John answered that question in a 2020 interview with Vogue: “I wasn’t glam rock. I wasn’t David Bowie. I was me being a blokey guy wearing these clothes. I had to have humor in my costume.” Thus, his turns as Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, and the Statue of Liberty, all costumes “designed to complement the corresponding performance,” Janelle Okwodu writes at Vogue.
John may not have thought of himself as a glam rock superstar, but his legacy of sparkling, sequined outfits, platform boots, feather boas, and bluesy rock hits says otherwise. In the video above, see the retiring Rocketman break down his most iconic looks. “Let’s begin,” he says, “at the very beginning” — decades before designer Sean Dixon tailored 30 bespoke suits (at 90 hours each to make) for John’s 2018 Million Dollar Piano show.
In 1968, John donned bell bottoms, a three-button jacket, and a fedora for his first publicity shot. “That was probably all I could afford, and it shows,” he remarks. Not a single Swarovski crystal in sight. In the early 70s, it was denim, “and I absolutely loathe denim now.” In 1997, for his 50th birthday party, John appeared in glorious full drag ensemble made by Sandy Powell, but in his later years, he’s mostly dressed down…. which for Elton John means changing into an endless series of bespoke, bedazzled suits.
Now that he’s heading into retirement from performing, we may be entitled to wonder about his bathrobe collection….