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29th Apr 2010

Timeless style – in County Kildare

Newbridge has turned itself into a town which should be a site of pilgrimage for anyone with an interest in fashion – by establishing the country’s first Museum of Style.

JOE

The ‘short grass county’ of Kildare, named as such for its famed sheep rearing credentials, isn’t somewhere we would readily associate with timeless style. Nonetheless, its very own Newbridge has turned itself into a town which by rights should be a site of pilgrimage for anyone with an interest in fashion – by establishing the country’s first Museum of Style.

The Newbridge Museum of Style Icons, operated by Newbridge Silverware, may feature displays of clothing worn by Madonna, Grace Kelly and a host of other female fashion icons, but that doesn’t mean it’s just for the ladies. The museum has also shown a range of pieces from Gene Kelly, The Beatles, Dean Martin, Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr and Jimmy Stewart among others.

Jackson

The Michael Jackson display has been particularly impressive. Among the most significant items displayed at the museum is a glove from Jackson’s 1983 performance of Billie Jean at the Motown 25 television special where he performed the Moonwalk for the first time. “The glove is completely different from the other gloves Jackson wore during this period,” said a museum spokesperson. “The glove does not feature the more characteristic hand sewn crystals, but uses instead a mesh web of faceted rhinestones, hand cut to the shape of the glove.”

The Jackson display has also featured a Fedora hat worn during his 1995 MTV Music Awards performance (pictured) and a jacket he wore regularly from his first tour as a solo artist in 1987 through to his ‘Bad World Tour’ in 1889. “The jacket features black straps with silver buckles and silver zippers, the signature look of Jackson’s Bad era,” said the spokesperson. At present, the Jackson display is showing a costume from his performance of ‘Black or White’, a ‘Dangerous’ costume, a Jackson Five Bill Whitten outfit and one of Germaine’s costumes from his Jackson 5 days.

If white socks and rhinestone gloves are not your thing, then fear not – the museum features displays from a range of other icons. You can pop along and check out a pair of non-prescription prop spectacles by Correna of France and a black mink ‘Russian style’ fur hat worn by Michael Cain in 1967’s Billion Dollar Brain. “This hat was worn by both Michael Caine in the lead role and by his stunt double, Johnny Morris in the film sequences shot on location in Finland.”

Also currently on display is a set of four D.A. Millings suits worn by the Beatles. Another set of D.A. Millings suits went on sale during a charity auction in aid of Hurricane Katrina victims with an estimate of between $60,000 and $80,000, so you’re looking at big money. The examples in the Style Museum were used during the promotion of  ‘A Hard Day`s Night’.

Sinatra’s Rat Pack is well represented in the Style Museum and you can check out a pair of Sammy Davis Jr cowboy boots, his personal black briefcase and a custom-made black overcoat.  The museum also has a tuxedo owned and worn by Dean Martin currently on display.

James Bond

The Irish man is represented a three piece wool suit in Prince of Wales check and a pair of Church’s brown leather brogues worn by Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye. “The outfit consists of a single-breasted jacket with Brioni signature silk lining, labelled inside Brioni, Roma, trousers with turn-ups and a matching waistcoat similarly with Brioni signature silk back panel,” said the spokesperson. “It was made for Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in… GoldenEye.”

Better still, Larry Hagman, the chap who played J.R. Ewing in Dallas, visited the Museum of Style Icons in April 2008 and decided to donated to one of his suits replete with multi-gallon hat. Simply a must-see.

Robert Carry

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