Did Elton John Really Wear That ‘Rocketman’ Devil Suit?
In the opening moments of Rocketman, the fantastical Elton John biopic hitting theaters tomorrow, John, played by Taron Egerton, enters a group-counseling session wearing a brightly adorned devil outfit.
The costume, decorated with sequins, feathers and horns, is completely out of place in this healing setting, similar to the way John's flashy theatrics stood out among a sea of more buttoned-up performers. It’s a striking image that helps establish an early theme in the film, but the question remains: Did the singer ever wear that outfit in real life?
John has certainly donned similarly outlandish attire over the course of his career. A sparkly Dodgers uniform, regal Victorian dress and his famous Donald Duck costume are among the many bold fashion choices the singer has made in the past.
Inspiration may have come from an outfit the "Tiny Dancer" singer wore during his 1986 Ice on Fire tour. The shimmering gold ensemble with bright red plumage was created by famed fashion designer Bob Mackie and bares several similarities to the devil suit in Rocketman.
“That was so much fun to do," Mackie recalled in a 1986 interview regarding John's costumes. “He had an angel costume in the same show with big wings – it was an angel and devil kind of situation. I did so many crazy things for him. He loved to get dressed up."
Still, it appears this exact devil costume was devised exclusively for the film. “I designed this outfit completely from my head,” explained the movie’s costume designer Julian Day in a conversation with The Independent.
“It was the very first costume I designed of the whole film. We were talking about how he enters rehab. He has to be wearing something spectacular when that happens. I knew the scene was going to be all white and I dressed all the patients in black, white and gray – so the idea of him coming through in an orange devil outfit was perfect.”
Though the costume is an original, the designer admitted it’s not John’s first time dancing with the devil. “I did find a set of devil horns in Elton’s archive,” Day confessed, “but they’re much smaller.”
For his part, Egerton never complained about the sometimes uncomfortable wardrobe. “Some of the looks were difficult to wear, but Taron was very good – especially in the extremely hot tent we had to work in during last summer,” Day noted during an interview with Vogue.
The designer added that getting John's praise for the costumes was a personal highlight. “Sir Elton was the one person I wanted to make sure was happy," he said. "So I feel like I’ve done my job.”