Elton John’s Life in Looks Proves He’s Always Had a Flair for Style

Elton John is not known for his subtlety. And thank god for it! The singer’s flamboyant, glamorous approach to fashion has been a pure joy to watch over his impressive, six-decades-long career—and that’s whether he’s on stage, the red carpet, or simply headed to the grocery store. In a new video, the singer sat down with Vogue to revisit some of his best ensembles over the years, and his life in looks prove that—unsurprisingly—he’s always had a strong flair for dressing.

John kicks off the video with an outfit he wore back in 1968. He embraced maximalism early on, and wore groovy bell-bottoms and an animal-print hat for one of his very first publicity shots. “I was so young there, and that’s probably all that I could afford,” says John. A few years later, in 1972, he also sported an all-denim outfit covered in kitschy badges. “The badges were sewn on by members of the band’s wives,” he says. (He was once even denied entry to Disneyland because of the outfit, for reasons unknown.) Don’t expect him to revive this particular look, though: “I absolutely loathe denim now,” John says. “I think every piece of denim in the world should be burned. I loathe it; I detest it. Cancel it.”

In the decades that followed, John would only take this over-the-top fashion sensibility to new heights. Some of his favorite looks from the time were the many Bob Mackie creations he wore. When receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in L.A. in 1975, for instance, John wore a glitzy suit created by Mackie that was embellished with stars, as well as with names of fellow celebrities already on the Walk of Fame. “I couldn’t believe I was getting a star so early on in my career,” John says of the milestone achievement.

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John also spoke of the importance of wearing bold ensembles on-stage, and why they’re more than just an aesthetic choice. Turns out, they help him get into character. “When you put your costume on, you’re ready to perform,” he says. “I couldn’t ever come on stage and look normal.” A prime example of this is back in 1977, when he wore a “giant chicken outfit” on The Muppet Show, his all-time favorite look. “It was made by Bill Whitten, an incredible L.A. designer,” he says of the theatrical look. “This was so much fun to wear, and it was so heavy, I used to get feathers in my mouth while I was singing!”

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