Nudie Cohn : biography

December 15, 1902 - May 9, 1984

Nudie strutted around town in his own outrageous suits and rhinestone-studded cowboy hats. His sartorial trademark was mismatched boots, which he wore, he said, to remember his humble beginnings in the 1930s when he could not afford a matching pair of shoes."Nudie, The Man Who Set Rhinestones in Fashion History." Retrieved 2010-09-28. He shamelessly promoted himself and his products throughout his career. According to his granddaughter, Jamie Lee Nudie (a self-promoter in her own right who changed her last name to her grandfather's first name), he would often pay for items with dollar bills sporting a sticker of his face covering George Washington's. "When you get sick of looking at me," he would say, "just rip [the sticker] off and spend it."Holt, Jim (July 12, 2008): "The Past Returns on Mothers Day." Retrieved 2010-09-28.


Cohn was equally famous for his garishly-decorated automobiles. Between 1950 and 1975 he customized 18 vehicles, mostly white Pontiac Bonneville convertibles, with silver-dollar-studded dashboards, pistol door handles and gearshifts, extended rear bumpers, and enormous longhorn steer horn hood ornaments. They were nicknamed "Nudie Mobiles", and the nine surviving cars have become valued collector's items.Nudie Cohn, Rhinestone Cowboy. Retrieved 2010-09-28. A Bonneville convertible designed for country singer Webb Pierce is on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. A Pontiac Grand Ville convertible customized by Nudie can be seen at the end of the 1988 Buck Owens/Dwight Yoakam music video, "The Streets of Bakersfield." That same car—which Owens's manager claims was originally built for Elvis Presley—now hangs over the bar inside Buck Owens's Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California. Two Nudie Mobiles owned by Schoepen remain on display at Bobbejaanland, a Western-themed amusement park near Brussels.Schoepen, T. Bobbejaan (The Ultimate Book of his Life and Work). Belgium, Uitgeverij Kannibaal, 2011.

Early life

Cohn was born Nuta Kotlyarenko in Kiev. To escape the pogroms of Czarist Russia his parents sent him at age 11, with his brother, Julius, to America. For a time he criss-crossed the country working as a shoeshine boy and later a boxer, and hung out, he later claimed, with the gangster Pretty Boy Floyd. While living in a boardinghouse in Minnesota he met Helen "Bobbie" Kruger, and married her in 1934. In the midst of the Great Depression the newlyweds moved to New York City and opened their first store, "Nudie's for the Ladies", specializing in custom-made undergarments for showgirls.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine