Manuel: Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martínez, born April 23, 1938 in Coalcomán Michoacán, Mexico, is a designer of Rhinestone-studded, brightly coloredd, beaded and fringed original designed and talilored suits, pants, shirts and ensembles, largely worn by both, Rock 'n' Roll and Country & Western stars.
The fifth of eleven children of Esperanza and José Guadalupe Cuevas was taught to sew by the age of seven.
He attended the University of Guadalajara, majoring in Psychology, and moved to Los Angeles in the mid-50s, where he apprenticed under master embroiderer, Viola Grae. Manuel continued with Grae until meeting Nudie Cohn.
Nudie's was THE C&W clothier period. Its fashion has now become synonymous with the 'Nashville Style" of the 40s, 50s and 60s.RHINESTONE:"A colorless artificial gem of paste or glass, often with facets that sparkle in imitation of a diamond. Although rhinestones are inseparably associated with the costumes of country and western singers and Las Vegas dancers, the word originally had European associations. The Rhine in rhinestone is the (French) Rhine River, and rhinestone is a translation into English of the French phrase caillou du Rhin. Originally a rhinestone was a kind of rock crystal that was found in or near the Rhine. Other types of rock crystal, such as Cornish diamond, were given similar fancy names. Because rhinestones could be made to imitate diamonds, the name rhinestone was applied to artificial gems made from paste, glass, or gem quartz and as a result often carries a connotation of showbiz glitz."Quite simply, Ukranian immigrant, Nudie Cohn, was the first man to apply rhinestone to male country and western's star performers, both astonishing, in combination with his intricate, neon-colored, embroidered tableau and fearless in his use of the rhinestone to outfit men in the entertainment business's most macho field, with something only formerly worn by women.He invented what we may now consider with irony, awe, or both, into an empire based on the remixing of those two elements which effect a certain segments of show business today--from Nashvegas to Las Vegas with a definite stop along the way at Graceland, where Bill Belew's evolved it into the ultimate sartorial statement of supremacy.Nudie earned himself the title, 'Rodeo Tailor to the Stars,' and those stars came to include almost every member of the Grand Ole Opry to the hippest Rock ' Rollers in the late 60s and 70s. Beginning with Gram Parsons, whose influence on the Stones' was all-encompassing, including their style, to the above mentioned Elvis Jumpsuit, and, of course, Elton John.
Others followed, all caught up in the masterful embroidery, and, to many people's eyes, the garish ornamentation of rhinestones: both simultaneously Nudie's trademark.
Manuel quickly became Nudie's head tailor,and by the early 60s, his head designer--remaining with Cohn for fourteen years.
I BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW:
Besides the Lone Ranger's mask and Cowboy Outfit, Manuel was responsible for:
The Beatles' Suits on the cover of "Sergeant Pepper's..."; Johnny Cash's 'Man in Black' Suit; the Grateful Dead's 'Rose and Skeleton' insignia; and maybe his most famous design by proxy, an 'inflatable lips' pillow for Mick Jagger, which John Pasche later designed into The Rolling Stones' logo.
In the mid-70s Manuel married and divorced Nudie's daughter, Barbara, opened his own business in North Hollywood, and purchased a dozen sewing machines from infamous designer, Nathan Turk, whose, 'Turk of Hollywood,' had closed recently, due to poor health [Turk never cashed the check from Manuel].
By the late 80s, Manuel had moved to Nashville to be close to his 'Music City' clientele.
At 72, he still lives his passion and life's work every day at 1922 Broadway, Nashville, Tennessee's "Manuel's Exclusive Clothiers.'lone ranger outfit coming up...