Rhinestone Rembrandt

He's known as the Rhinestone Rembrandt. He's quick with the needle, flamboyant with embroidery and generous with rhinestones. His name is Manuel.

Based in Nashville, Manuel is the Cowboy Couturier. For years he has provided the entertainment and music industries with original suits and western wear. He's dressed industry greats like Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner and Elvis--from his time in California with tailor and designer Nudie. He's also been connected to the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and continues to dress musicians like Keith Urban, Jack White and members of The Killers.

Last year I had the opportunity to learn from this fashion legend firsthand as a Design Intern. I got to witness how a couture fashion house operated and see the entire production process, from creative inception to sale. I loved being there! I became an expert in rhinestoning (applying rhinestones one-by-one on the suits and shirts) while also getting to do some embroidery sketching and arrow stitching on the garments.

Here I am with Manuel at a trunk show in Nashville a few seasons back.
Manuel tends to find inspiration from his Mexican roots, religious iconography and from the customers themselves.
In his design and cutting room, Manuel does all of his own cutting.

Brandon Flowers of The Killers decided he wanted a gold suit like the original one worn by Elvis. He was in luck since Manuel worked on the original with Nudie. It was so much fun to be a part of the process for this amazing suit. There were thousands of rhinestones we had to apply to the collars, cuffs, etc. After our hours of hard work, all the interns modeled the suit pieces.
Wearing a shirt and belt made for Brandon Flowers, with a Manuel rhinestone tank and Manuel studded cowboy boots.

John Lennon and Manuel

Keith Urban at the CMAs

Even Conan O'Brian got a Manuel suit.

Manuel created a series of 50 jackets, each represented a state. The jackets have been on display at various museums, including Nashville's Frist Museum.
The jackets made it to the runways of NYC.