THE FASHION OF DALE BERRY
The suits on display in these photographs were personally designed for Dale Berry by the legendary Nudie the Rodeo Tailor. Born in Kiev, Russia, Nuta Kotlyarenko AKA Nudie Cohn started off designing G-strings for NYC strippers. In the early forties Cohn relocated to California, where he started designing iconic suits for country stars such as Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Spade Cooley, Hank Snow, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (Porter Wagoner owned over fifty of his suits, including a purple one that said “Hi” in big letters on the inside lining of the coat). Nudie created the infamous $10,000 gold lame suit for Elvis, as well as a string of highly coveted “Nudiemobiles”—Pontiac Bonnevilles customized with guns, bullets, silver dollars and bullhorns on the hood. By the seventies Nudie was designing clothes for Cher, Elton John, ZZ Top, Wayne Cochran, Gram Parsons and Ronald Reagan. He died in 1984.
“Dale used to come into the shop all the time,” said Jamie Nudie, the designer’s daughter, who worked at the family store in North Hollywood. “They used to sit around and tell stories. Dale was always around, tellin’ jokes. We had a great relationship. He’d tell me, ‘I just love you to death, you’re my gal.’ Very flirty-flirty, huggin’ on me and stuff. Dale used to drive Poppy—my grandfather—to the bank. They were very close.”
These photos were shot on an iPhone 10 by renowned cinematographer Darius Khondji (Se7en, Delicatessen, Amour, Okja, The Lost City of Z and the forthcoming Too Old to Die Young).
We thank Susan Berry for donating her father’s suits to byNWR. Thanks to Jamie Nudie for the photos of her grandfather alongside a Nudiemobile.