Powerhouse Museum Collection Search 2.53
Category history:

Some users have reported searches being slow to complete.
Please be aware we are working to rectify this.

   

Support the Powerhouse with a tax-deductible gift

Make a donation
Clothing and Dress > Suits

+ 87/1059 Suit, women's, wool, Linda Jacks...
+ 2007/219/1 Performance costume, mens sui...
+ 87/1249 A three piece man's suit includi...
+ 2003/147/11 Suit, men's, jacket and trou...
+ 88/750 Suit, men's, wool, San Remo, Ital...
+ 88/888 Underwear, union suit, men's cott...
+ 88/896 Suit, women's, linen, Chris Jacov...
+ 88/900 Suit, men's, summer and shoes ray...
+ 88/969 Pants-suit, women's, wool, Italy,...
+ 88/989 Dinner suit, men's, wool, George ...
+ 88/991 Suit, 3 piece, women's, wool, Rob...
+ 88/80 Suit, women's, wool, Robert Burton...
+ 88/81 Suit, women's, cotton, Robert Burt...
+ 93/17/6 Suit (2), wool/terylene, Brett M...
+ 93/28/2 Suit, men's, wool / polyester / ...
+ A5563 Early 20th century suit (1910-14),...
+ 93/270/1 Suit, mens, wool/terylene, Rage...
+ 93/311/25 Suit, womens, screen-printed c...
+ A6255 Suit, women's tweed, wool / silk /...
+ A6314 Dress suit: consisting of serge co...
+ 94/37/1 Suit, three piece, women's, wool...
+ A7171 Victorian boy's day suit.(AD)....
+ A7172 Boy's white duck sailor style suit...
+ 94/112/1 Winter suit, boys, wool/wool bl...
+ 94/112/2 Winter suit, boys, wool/leather...
+ 94/112/3 Summer suit, boys, cotton, Eleg...
+ 94/112/4 Suit, boys, cotton, Elegant Hei...
+ 87/557 Wedding ensemble, pants-suit, woo...
+ 87/678 Suit, womens, miniskirt and jacke...
+ 87/682 Suit, women's, cotton, Australia,...
+ 95/6/3 Suit, womens, silk, Pat Grummet, ...
+ 95/19/3 Suit, mens, 3 piece and hat, woo...
+ 95/65/7 Suit, womens, 'Rainbow Gumleaf',...
+ 95/178/1 Outfit, womens, wool/leather, V...
+ 95/230/1 Morning suit and tie, mens, woo...
+ 95/230/2 Dinner suit, mens, wool, made b...
+ 96/26/1 Suit, mens, jacket & pants, wool...
+ 96/26/2 Suit, mens, jacket & pants, wool...
+ 96/26/3 Suit, mens, jacket & pants, wool...
+ 96/52/1 Suit, womens, polyester, Maggie ...
+ 96/227/2 Suit, 'safari', womens, cotton,...
+ 96/386/5 Suit, womens, wool / silk / bra...
+ 96/386/6 Suit, womens, wool, designed by...
+ 96/386/7 Culotte suit, womens, wool, Nin...
+ 96/386/31 Suit, evening, women's, silk, ...
+ 96/395/17 Flying suit, badge and 2 photo...
+ 97/154/6 Theatre costume, womens suit, '...
+ A7496 Woven suit with lurex thread, mid ...
+ A7521 Suit, womans, black gaberdine / sa...
+ A7667 Girl's two piece suit, embroidered...


Clothing and Dress > Performance costumes

+ 2010/54/1 Protest costume, 'Greedozer II...
+ 2000/66/48 Performance costume, gold lam...
+ 2012/104/4 Performance costume, circus h...
+ 2000/66/81 Performance costume, skirt de...
+ 2012/104/6 Circus performance costume, c...
+ 2000/66/91 Performance costume, cream sl...
+ 2012/104/8 Circus performance riding glo...
+ 2000/87/2 Dance costume, dinner jacket a...
+ 2012/104/10 Circus performance riding gl...
+ 2001/84/30 Costume, 'School fish', fibre...
+ 2012/104/12 Circus performer's riding bo...
+ 2001/84/51 Performance costumes (5), 'Fl...
+ 2012/104/14 Circus performer's riding ja...
+ 2001/84/53 Performance costume, 'Cockato...
+ 2012/104/16 Circus performer's riding ou...
+ 2001/84/59D Water buffalo costume, rubbe...
+ 2012/104/18 Circus performer's costume, ...
+ 2004/88/1 Performance costume, dress, ca...
+ 2012/104/20 Circus clown's jester costum...
+ 2004/88/3 Performance costume, 4 piece e...
+ 2012/104/22 Circus performer's shawl, si...
+ 2006/157/2 Performance costume, jeans an...
+ 2012/104/24 Circus performer's skirt, wo...
+ 2008/27/2 Performance costume, prisoner'...
+ 2012/104/26 Circus performer's dress, si...
+ 2008/84/1 Performance costume, consistin...
+ 2012/104/28 Circus performer's sleeveles...
+ 93/137/2 Stage costume, jacket and pants...
+ 2007/158/2 Music performance costume, 'I...
+ 94/265/2 Ceremonial belt, Kafa (traditio...
+ 2007/219/1 Performance costume, mens sui...
+ 95/28/50 Hat, men's, Stetson, felt/leath...
+ 2004/88/1 Performance costume, dress, ca...
+ 2012/104/20 Circus clown's jester costum...
+ 2004/88/3 Performance costume, 4 piece e...
+ 2012/104/22 Circus performer's shawl, si...
+ 2006/157/2 Performance costume, jeans an...
+ 2012/104/24 Circus performer's skirt, wo...
+ 2008/27/2 Performance costume, prisoner'...
+ 2012/104/26 Circus performer's dress, si...
+ 2008/84/1 Performance costume, consistin...
+ 2012/104/28 Circus performer's sleeveles...
+ 93/137/2 Stage costume, jacket and pants...
+ 2007/158/2 Music performance costume, 'I...
+ 94/265/2 Ceremonial belt, Kafa (traditio...
+ 2007/219/1 Performance costume, mens sui...
+ 95/28/50 Hat, men's, Stetson, felt/leath...
+ 95/212/1 Costume, worn by singer William...
+ 96/15/1 Stage costume, worn by Rick Lum ...
+ 96/298/1 Performance costume, 'Cowdyke',...



Yellow suit worn by Johnny O'Keefe, 1957 - 1959
zoom image
Images: 01 02 03 04 05

Object statement
Suit, cotton/velvet/silk/diamantes, worn by Johnny O'Keefe, made by Len Taylor, Australia, 1957-1959
Johnny O'Keefe was Australia's first rock 'n' roll star. Full of energy, confidence and ambition, he was a dynamic live performer with a raw voice and an exuberant stage presence that earned him the nickname 'the wild one'. He hosted his own television shows and did much to encourage and promote other Australian rock performers, but his greatest legacy was as a performer and recording artist.

In the mid 1950s O'Keefe sang at dances, doing impersonations of American 'sob' singer Johnnie Ray. After seeing the film Blackboard jungle, which introduced rock 'n' roll to Australian audiences, he formed a band called the Dee Jays in September 1956. They promoted their own dances at suburban venues until O'Keefe's big break came when the promoter Lee Gordon booked him as a support act on Little Richard's eventful 1957 Australian tour.

The next step on was a hit record. In 1958, with the song 'Wild one' (covered by Iggy Pop in 1985 as 'Real wild child') he became the first Australian rock performer to have a chart hit. Co-written by O'Keefe and members of his band, the song summed up the rebellious attitude of youth.

O'Keefe was rough, raw and loud. His talent lay in his genuine feel for rock 'n' roll and his wild, frenzied and overtly sexual stage antics. He would throw himself into each song, shaking his body and grinning at his fans.

Up to 1960 O'Keefe had a taste for flash stage costumes which accentuated his wild image. An outstanding example is this bright yellow suit trimmed with black velvet and diamantes.

Along with Andy Ellis (420 Pitt St) and Pineapple Joe (George St), Len Taylor, the maker of this suit, was one of the three tailors who provided costumes for O'Keefe and other members of Sydney's rock 'n' roll elite. The museum's collection includes another Johnny O'Keefe stage outfit -- a bright red suit with leopard-print velvet trim - thought to be made by his mother Thelma.

O'Keefe adopted more conservative attire when he began hosting the ABC television show Six o'clock rock in late 1959. Mental illness and the effects of a car crash in 1960 caused him to suffer memory loss, depression and breakdowns. Nevertheless he made a television comeback but by the end of 1964 'Beatlemania' had overtaken O'Keefe. He died in 1978 but will always be remembered as the true pioneer of Australian rock.
Probably designed by the maker Len Taylor to Johnny O'Keefe's specifications.

Contains label 'Len Taylor, Sydney, American clothes stylist'.

O'Keefe stopped wearing brightly coloured suits around 1960, as his television career took off.
Johnny O'Keefe was Australia's first rock'n'roll star. John Michael O'Keefe was born in Sydney in 1935. In the mid-1950s Keefe began appearing at dances imitating American singer Johnnie Ray. In 1956, inspired by the film 'Blackboard jungle' he formed a band, the Dee Jays. Keefe got breaks performing supports for overseas touring artists like Bill Haley, Little Richard and Gene Vincent. In 1958 he released 'Wild one' and became the first Australian rock performer to have a chart hit. Early in his career O'Keefe had a taste for flash clothes and overtly sexual stage antics. International tours were not as successful as he might have hoped, and in the 1960s he went into television as the host of '6 O'Clock Rock', 'The Johnny O'Keefe Show' and 'Sing Sing Sing'. O'Keefe's career waned after 1964, although he enjoyed a revival in 1973. He died in 1978 aged 43.
Donated by Johnny O'Keefe to the Sydney Opera House around 1974 at the instigation of Barbara Firth, a family friend of the O'Keefes and member of the Ladies Committee at the Opera House. Transferred to the Powerhouse Museum from the Dennis Wolanski Library, Sydney Opera House in 1998.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Suit, cotton/velvet/silk/diamantes, worn by Johnny O'Keefe, made by Len Taylor, Australia, 1957-1959

Men's suit consisting of jacket and trousers, worn by Johnny O'Keefe.
-1 Jacket made of yellow [cotton] fabric with black velvet trimming at collar, cuffs and pockets. The jacket has a shawl collar with the neck area trimmed with black velvet decorated with a string of diamantes around the neck. The lapels are of the same yellow fabric and extend to the single button fastening at the waist. The button is made of brownish-black plastic. The jacket is long sleeved and the cuffs are trimmed with black velvet decorated with a string of diamantes around the front half of both cuffs, some diamantes are missing from both cuffs. The jacket has a fake external left breast pocket trimmed with black velvet and diamantes, one diamante appears to be missing from the end of the string. The jacket also has two fake external waist pockets on the left and right sides which are trimmed with black velvet. The jacket is lined with salmon pink silk and has no internal pockets, the shoulders have some padding. A maker's label is sewn inside the jacket at the left breast, the label is cream coloured with black embroidered text "Len Taylor/Sydney/American Clothes Stylist". The label is partly detached from the jacket. The jacket has black marks exteding horizontally from just above the right waist pocket and discolouration in the lining at the centre back neck area and in various places on the external yellow fabric. There are several moth holes in the lining and in the external fabric particularly just below the right waist pocket.

-2 Trousers made of yellow [cotton] fabric, matching trousers to jacket (98/32/1-1). Trousers have 2 side pockets and are pleated at the front of waist. Trousers fasten at centre front with a metal zipper, metal hook and eye and internal button which fastens to button hole on a triangular extension of yellow fabric (this internal button is missing). There are seven belt loops around waist for a thin belt. Trousers are unlined except for the inside waist which is lined with a band of ribbed cream silk, covering a rougher piece of hessian coloured fabric, the zipper is also lined with cream silk. The waistband lining is partially detached from the trousers. The legs of the trousers are hemmed with black velvet giving the appearence of a cuff at the hem of each leg. The cream cotton fabric forming the inside of the left pocket has a handwritten inscription in black ink "J.R O'Keef" [sic] and the fabric forming the inside right pocket has a handwritten inscription in black ink "FHC".

Made: Len Taylor; Sydney; 1957 - 1959


Used: O'Keefe, Johnny; Australia; 1957 - 1959

Owned: O'Keefe, Johnny; Sydney
Marks
See parts for marks
98/32/1
Production date
1957 - 1959

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of Sydney Opera House Trust, 1998
Subjects
+ O'Keefe, Johnny
+ Rock music
+ Performance costumes
+ Musicians
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/163408
Cite this object in Wikipedia
Copy and paste this wiki-markup:

{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/163408 |title=Yellow suit worn by Johnny O'Keefe |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=30 August 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


Copyright
Images on this site are reproduced for the purposes of research and study only. Whilst every effort has been made to trace the Copyright holders, we would be grateful for any information concerning Copyright of the images and we will withdraw them immediately on Copyright holder's request.
Object viewed 13259 times. Parent IRN: 2126. Master IRN: 2126 Img: 18569 Flv: H:1861px W:1312px SMO:0 RIGHTS:.