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Old Jan 23, 2007, 02:47 PM   #1
instant karla
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Default Collector Can Keep You Looking Fab

Collector Can Keep You Looking Fab

[SIZE=2]By John Kelly
Monday, January 22, 2007; Page B03[/SIZE]

One day, a little over five years ago, Howard County's Russ Lease decided that what the world needed was historically accurate, reasonably priced reproductions of Beatles clothing: stitch-for-stitch copies of the distinctive outfits the famous musicians wore in concert.
Luckily, Russ was in the position to provide them. With his brother, he had owned the Pants Plus clothing store in Landover Mall, from 1976 until the mall closed in 2001. Russ knew the clothing industry. And he knew the Beatles. A fan since childhood, he's a leading collector of high-end Beatles memorabilia: signed letters, rare albums, old performance contracts, one of "The Beatles" drumheads from the front of Ringo's bass drum.


At a Sotheby's auction in 1994, Russ had paid about $5,000 for a tailored tan jacket, size 39 regular, with epaulets, pleated breast pockets and Nehru collar. It was the so-called "Shea jacket," the very jacket Paul McCartney wore when the Beatles performed at Shea Stadium on Aug. 15, 1965.
Recently, Russ, 50, slipped on a pair of white cotton gloves and eased a headless mannequin out of a locked display case. He unbuttoned the Shea jacket and removed it from the form. The fabric was clean and unwrinkled, although there were sweat stains on the acetate lining.
Russ's idea was to reverse-engineer the jacket and create an exact duplicate.
"All of the tailors I spoke with wanted to take it apart," he said. "I said, 'No you can't do that.' "
Finally he found a master tailor in Lehighton, Pa., named Pete Camioni. The two spent four days poring over the jacket, taking measurements, making sketches. Today, you can buy your own Shea jacket -- in tan or black, sizes 38 to 50 -- for $295 from Russ's company, http://www.beatlesuits.com.
Next, Russ duplicated the frock coat Ringo wore on the cover of the "Abbey Road" album. (The original -- size 34 short; Ringo is tiny-- is in another display case.) Russ also sells the collarless suits from the Beatles' early days, the narrow-lapel jackets and drainpipe trousers they wore on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and the velvet-collared sharkskin suits seen at the end of "A Hard Day's Night."
These outfits are a godsend for people whose job requires them to dress as John, Paul, George or Ringo. These are the hardworking Beatles tribute bands, made up of musicians who comb their bangs over their foreheads and master not only the chords of the Beatles' songs, but also the distinctive bounce of the Beatles' heads, their knees-bent joggling stance, the slight eyeball flutter that accompanies a lusty "Woooooo!"
These groups -- with such names as the Mersey Beat, the Beat Club, BritBeat, the Beatalls, the Beatlads, the Fab Four, the Fab 5, Fab Forever and Almost Fab -- were cruising thrift shops looking for clothing that could be altered and made to look vaguely Beatlish.
About a third of Russ's suits go to "trib" bands. More recent rockers including Elliot Easton of the Cars and Doug Fieger of the Knack are also customers. So, too, are relatively normal folks.
"Some of it is kind of back in style now," Russ said of the clothes, made at a factory in Pennsylvania that also sews police uniforms. "Then I think there are people who just want to have it to hang in the closet. I have a fair amount of women customers who want [the Shea jacket] in Paul's size -- not to wear it, not to give to their husband, just to have it in their collection, to put it on a mannequin in their Beatles room."
There is something Shroud of Turin-like about the clothes. Looking at them brings a flood of associations. And Russ's memorabilia-filled basement is like a reliquary, adorned as it is with various slivers of the true rock-and-roll cross.
So, Russ, have you ever put on Paul's jacket?
"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't," he said. "When you get Paul McCartney's Shea jacket, you have to put it on and slap on a Hofner bass and look in the mirror and see how it looks."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...012101210.html
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Old Jan 23, 2007, 03:50 PM   #2
Miss Wendy Winters
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Wow, I love those! My favorite is the Shea Jacket, it looks beautiful in black too!
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Old Jan 23, 2007, 03:59 PM   #3
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i was waiting for one of our fashionistas to respond! i like the shea in black, too, although i've seen women wearing the classic shea and it looks GREAT.

anybody have one of the jackets?
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Old Jan 23, 2007, 05:08 PM   #4
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I wish. God, wouldn't it be great to get one?
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 09:05 AM   #5
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How I wish I had enough cash for the collarless suit.
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Old Feb 08, 2007, 01:41 PM   #6
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George was so adorable with his thick, wavy hair, serious expression and distinctive stand in his 1965 Shea Stadium jacket. What size jacket did George wear?
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Old Feb 08, 2007, 01:56 PM   #7
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One of my friends bought the Ringo frock coat last year at Beatlefest and it really does look very cool on him. Some of my tribute band friends have ordered them too and they're supposedly quite well made. I think they'd be cool to wear, but that bit about people buying them to hang them on a manniquin is...well...pretty creepy.
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Old Mar 04, 2007, 10:39 PM   #8
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Dude! That's awesome - and I'll tell you why...

My sister was modeling hairstyles at a bridal show about a week ago and my mom and I went to support. In my bordom, I actually figured out what my dream wedding would be (not that I'm getting married anytime soon or anything, I was just bored) and I decided the perfect wedding would be a Summer of Love theamed wedding - and part of the detail would be that the men would have to wear Beatle suits. :D :D :D

At least I know where to get them now. :D
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