“Life is just a matter of style.”
The look. Rock and roll is obsessed with it. Virtually every artist defines him or her self as much by the way they look as by the music they play. Bruce Springsteen and jeans. Elton John and glasses. Jim Morrison and black leather pants. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but you can pretty much judge a rock star by his clothes.
To celebrate the relationship between rock and fashion, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame teamed up with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to create the definitive exhibition on the subject. Rock Style premiered at the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute in New York City on December 6, 1999 and then opened at the Rock Hall on May 13, 2000. In the fall of 2000, Rock Style traveled to the Barbican Art Centre in London, England.
The exhibit included more than 100 original outfits from such rock legends as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, David Bowie, Elton John, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Michael Jackson, George Clinton, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed and Bono. Such contemporary artists as Bjork, Courtney Love, Tori Amos and Beck were also represented in the exhibit. Highlights of the exhibit included three of the four original Sgt. Pepper uniforms, Madonna’s wedding dress from the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards show, George Clinton’s Uncle Jam costume and Michael Jackson’s “Bad” outfit.
Rock Style Exhibition Opening Party
May 12, 2000
More than 600 Hall of Fame supporters celebrated the opening of Rock Style on May 12. The event featured live performances by Cheap Trick, the Neville Brothers and pop-rock rookie Michael Fredo. “There isn’t one artist who’s a mega-star who doesn’t have a great sense of style,” said fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, who attended the party and dinner. The exhibit was co-curated with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and sponsored by Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A., Inc
“We’ve been visiting the Rock Hall for three years, about two times per year. Your displays are fabulous and we learn something new each time we’re here...It’s even allowing us to teach our 9-year-old son about all music...So do we think it’s worth a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Dayton, Ohio in the pouring rain? You bet! Rock on.” “Wow - This is the music of our lives. This place is awesome - extremely impressive. We grew up on Alan Freed, Bandstand and Cousin Brucie. Keep up the good work - we’ll be back.”