1969 Cossack Suit Interpretation

This video was shot about 3 weeks after my Dad passed on in 2016. I was feeling extremely rattled, as you can imagine, and especially unsafe in my body. I came to the conclusion, though, that now was the time to embrace this form, or go insane and drive myself out of it.  White Pine Festival had announced a costume contest with a 50s and 60s theme, and I squeaked in with Elvis’ 1969 black Cossack/Herringbone suit. I had just a week to put this together and so, while unfinished- because I insist on handsewing- there was, in my opinion, an adequate representation here.

Organizers told us to make ourselves “seen”, so I went to the circle on the ball diamond and, ironically, revisited a lesson my class got in Performing Arts the year before. We had a guest instructor one day who told us to claim a space, keep our eyes to ourselves, and “dance like no one’s watching.”  So there’s more of me in the dancing, but a little Elvis, too, maybe.  At least there’s a move in there I’ve considered elaborating on, though I’m now ten years older than Elvis was when he performed it in 1970, so… we’ll see. 🙂

In keeping with my wanting to embrace this form, I began to be quite interested again in costume design and also in broadening my horizons in terms of clothing choices- ie. wear dresses while you can.  Dresses on me is very new. Any such occasions in the past were extremely rare. I’m very keen on Edwardian style, lace, and drop waist 1920s, and interest seems to be bleeding into the 30s. I like the 70s, because I grew up in them, and it’s also my favorite “Elvis decade” because we get to see the whole person, to the degree that’s possible for us. His musical style became more expansive, his voice matured, his hair grew longer! He loved music and his work in the 70s made that very clear, indeed.

The Cossack Suit, and the ’68 leather jumpsuit before it were the precursors for Elvis’ 70s style. The outfits went from black to white largely because of the heat of the stage lights, and the way Elvis worked. Gatorade wasn’t enough. 🙂

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