Jimmy Little performance costume

Made by Paramount (PVH Brands Australia) in Australia, Oceania, 1973 - 1978.

This costume has significance because the Indigenous entertainer Jimmy Little wore it on stage during performances. A singer of country, pop and gospel, Little became the first Aboriginal star of Australian popular music. During the 1960s, his unique interpretations of songs like ‘Royal Telephone’, ‘Old Man River’ and ‘That Lucky Old Sun’ became pop hits. He made regular appearances in clubs and on television.

Jimmy Little was born in 1937 on the Cummeragunga reserve on the Murray River. He fol...

Summary

2008/84/1
Performance costume, consisting of a safari suit and a shirt. Pale green safari suit, consisting of jacket and trousers. Jacket has two tabbed patch breast pockets and two tabbed patch hip pockets. Brown plastic buttons, three at front. Button on left sleeve is half broken off. Gold and brown lining. Maker's label inside at breast pocket 'McGregor of America. Finely tailored in Australia by Stafford-Ellinson'. Trousers are slightly flared, with metal zipper, cream cotton lining. 'J Little' is hand-written in green ink on lining of right back pocket.

Long-sleeved men's shirt, synthetic triacetate fibre material, in multicoloured pattern of circles or bubbles in brown, blue and green. Maker's label reads 'Paramount. Styled in (map of Australia)'. Fabric in Arnel Plus. Plastic buttons.

Production

Safari suit made in Australia by Stafford-Ellinson under the brand 'McGregor of America'. Shirt designed in Australia and made by Paramount.
Paramount (PVH Brands Australia) 1973 - 1978
Stafford Ellinson 1973-1978

History

The Australian entertainer Jimmy Little bought this costume in the mid-1970s and wore it on stage many times over the next few years. He had three safari suits, in dark blue, sky blue and this pale green one. He wore platform shoes with the suits, 'keeping up with the fashion' (Jimmy Little in conversation with Peter Cox, 26 February 2008). He is pictured wearing one of these safari suits on the cover of an album from this period. He wore the shirt with this and other suits. As Jimmy explained, 'I wanted to look good, not overdressed, playing in open-air festivals. The safari suit was cool, casual and relaxed, with a level of sophistication. I developed a Jimmy Little style in the visual, the sound and the overall presentation. While trying to keep up with fashion, I was the only one wearing certain fashions, like pink shirts and white ties, which looked good against my skin. Somehow I wasn't in uniform with the mainstream artists ' (Jimmy Little in conversation with Peter Cox, 26 February 2008). He lent the costume to the Powerhouse Museum for display in the exhibition 'Spinning Around: 50 Years of Festival Records', and subsequently donated it to the Museum.
Little, Jimmy 1973-2008

Source

Gift of Jimmy Little AO, 2008
7 May, 2008

Cite this Object

Jimmy Little performance costume 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 17 October 2017, <https://ma.as/379197>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/379197 |title=Jimmy Little performance costume |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=17 October 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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