Kendall student D. Cavinder won a contest to create a new lavish costume for the Rocket Man, who brings his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour to Van Andel Arena Oct. 15. See all of the entries.
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When Elton John brings his farewell tour to Van Andel Arena later this month, he’ll have a lavish new outfit waiting for him courtesy of a Grand Rapids designer.
A fashion icon, the rock legend might be almost as well-known for his flamboyant costumes as for his decades-long career of hit songs.
At 71, the piano pounder has decades of eye-catching and eccentric getups to his credit, and thanks to a fashion student at Kendall College of Art and Design, EJ will have another to add to his wardrobe when he arrives in Grand Rapids on Oct. 15.
Van Andel Arena and Kendall teamed up to hold a contest in which fashion studies students each submitted three costume illustrations inspired by Elton’s fashion and music with the winning designer receiving a $1,000 scholarship from Van Andel Arena, with the opportunity to fabricate one winning design and put it on display for the Rocket Man himself at the arena.
Following two rounds of voting and hundreds of votes cast by the public via Facebook, D. Cavinder, a senior in Kendall’s fashion studies program, beat out nine other entrants with three colorful designs which fuse Elton’s modern style with themes from “The Wizard of Oz.”
While Cavinder is a casual fan of Elton’s music, she acknowledged the impact he’s had on both the music and fashion industry.
“He’s a legend,” says Cavinder.
Students had less than two weeks to complete their designs, so there wasn’t much time to conceptualize. Cavinder quickly drew comparison between Elton’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour and its namesake. The results look as though they’re straight out of Elton’s actual wardrobe.
‘FOR HIM TO EVEN BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS THE COSTUME IS BONKERS’
There’s the pink and bubbly “Glinda the Good Witch” Elton, a rainbow “Lollipop Guild” Elton and, of course, an uber-green “Emerald City” Elton (all three drawn with Elton-esque sportcoats and retro sunglasses).
In researching and designing the Elton-inspired looks, Cavinder began relating more to Elton and elements of the story, particularly with her Emerald City design.
“In ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ Emerald City is the representation of ‘the dream.’ As a music artist or fashion designer, you’re always trying to reach that dream. For his farewell tour, Elton made it.”
It’s that exuberant Emerald City design, which Cavinder also described as the “truest concept,” which is now being brought to life for Elton to see. Cavinder said she’s excited at the prospect of Elton seeing it later this month.
“For him to even be in the same room as the costume is bonkers,” concedes Cavinder, who is building a resumé and portfolio while finishing up at Kendall. Upon graduating in the spring, Cavinder intends to stay in Michigan to pursue a fashion design career.
The Elton John designs, says Cavinder, will most certainly be added to that portfolio. She expects to complete the costume next week.
In addition to Cavinder, the contest featured entries by Nicole Bellow, Marissa Duff, Jakayla Ford, Demi McNeal, Meaghan Newhouse, Xia Pimpleton, Maria Tenhave-Chapman, Markiesha Weaver and Xiaoyang Way. See all of their designs below.
Elton John’s sold-out Van Andel tour date is just one of more than 300 shows scheduled for the singer’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour. Read more about Elton’s international trek and plans for retirement online here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Elton John Fashion Design Entries
Check out Local Spins’ review/photo gallery from Elton’s last concert at Van Andel Arena in 2016: Elton John fires up his ‘Rocket Man’ engines for a piano-jam-laden Grand Rapids show
Copyright 2018, Spins on Music LLC