On May 18th in the Hard Rock Cafe, New York items from the life and career of Prince will go under the hammer of Julien’s Auctions.
As an individual Prince was, by all accounts, shy and retiring, however, once he stepped into the public eye he became the outlandish performer we came to know and love. In order to achieve this remarkable transformation and unique style, he used every aspect of his appearance as an outlet for his creativity. He wore extravagant costumes with high heeled boots to disguise his 5’2” frame and used spectacular jewellery to complete his look. Onstage his costumes incorporated or complemented his jewellery, including a police cap adorned with face-obscuring chains worn during his performance at the Radio City show in New York, 1993.
As he evolved musically, his image also changed to reflect the artist as he matured. However, one of the constants in his career was his association with the colour purple, which began following his multi-Grammy award winning song Purple Rain (1984) along with the movie and album of the same name. The album sold over 25 million copies worldwide and catapulted him to superstardom.
Prince’s impact on the music industry can be most easily understood from his live performances, which were so extraordinary that they took on almost mythical proportions. As a live performer he was set apart from his peers due to his musicianship and quirky fashions – he danced in heels, played his guitar like no-one else, never scrimped on his band and always sang live. His guitars were made ¾ size, due to his diminutive height and slight build – the smaller guitar made him appear larger on stage.
From his MTV Unplugged acoustic set; to his halftime extravaganza in front of a global audience of 150 million viewers at Super Bowl XLI in 2007; his live performances have immortalized him. The fact that behind the performer was an incredibly shy man, full of insecurities about the quality of the music he was making, makes the grandiosity and the showmanship he displayed on stage even more impressive.
Among the highlights of the auction to take place in New York are three Schecter electric guitars, commissioned by Prince. It was during the filming of the movie Purple Rain that Prince had Dave Russan design the white ‘cloud’ guitar that went on to become synonymous with him. Schecter had an agreement with Prince that they would never mass produce this guitar or sell it to the public and that agreement stands to this day, making these guitars extremely coveted.
Other highlights of the auction include Prince’s two-piece Devoré costume, which he wore in the movie Under the Cherry Tree; an electric blue ensemble worn while performing on stage with Lenny Kravitz at Paisley Park in 1999 and a black velvet sequined coat worn during his performance at Studio 54 in the MGM Grand, Las Vegas also in 1999.
The auction also contains items from Prince’s personal collection including clothing designed by Versace and Prada, record awards, posters, tour schedules, jewellery, backstage passes, set lists and more.
A large display of auction items is currently available to view at Newbridge Silverware’s Museum of Style Icons in Co. Kildare until 10th May 2018. Tickets cost €7 for an adult and €5 for students and senior Citizens. Children under 12 go free with a paying adult. Click here to buy your tickets now.