Elton John Presents 14 of His Iconic Looks: From 1968 to Now

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.…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Elton John Takes Us Through the Cre­ative Process of His Ear­ly Hit “Tiny Dancer” (1970)

Revis­it Six of Elton John’s Most Icon­ic Con­certs, Stream­ing in Their Entire­ty for 72 Hours

Elton John Proves He Can Turn any Text into a Song: Watch Him Impro­vise with Lines from Hen­rik Ibsen’s Play, Peer Gynt

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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