By George Matlock
On November 29, 2000, Elton John and partner David Furnish came to 51 Bond Street, London, to open the third UK-based Out the Closet store, selling their Gianni Versace and Paul Smith designer clothes.
More than 15,000 items are being fed daily into the store, the largest so far of the three in London since 1994, and some store forecasts suggest the items could all be snapped up by the weekend. The store has 10 days to clear the stock! Prices are below normal retail price, and most are in immaculate or never-worn condition, from baseball caps, costing £5, to outrageous stage costumes going for thousands of pounds. Proceeds will benefit the Elton John Aids Foundation.
There were also a few lavish tour costumes to be had…the most expensive being an electric blue and purple stage costume with matching gown, worn by the singer on his 1986 world tour (see photo with Robert Key, director of the EJAF – coming soon!). Price? A snip at £25,000. And a Steinway piano of Elton’s…
Elton wore a black leather jacket and David had a colour patterned leather jacket, for the opening breakfast ceremony. They didn’t stop long for the crowds or the media cameras, and headed inside around 9:30am. Among guests to dine with them was model Elle MacPherson. They were all out before the store opened to the 200-long queue at 12 noon.
One of the store’s ritually hottest shoppers was Elton fan Sharon Kalinoski. Sharon managed to buy more than £1,000-worth of gear in her first day sortie on the store. She was also second-in-line as the media kept talking with her, among them the US network ABC News.
Here’s what BBC Online wrote of her. You’d never find it if you went to their website and tapped in Elton…the item is stored under “Kalinoski” and the date registered is seriously wrong…01/01/1970 (!):
Many of the sale’s customers had queued for hours and come a long way.
Sharon Kalinoski, 36, from Chicago – who runs the American branch of the Sir Elton John Fan Club – spent more than £1,000.
But, like many of the eager shoppers, Ms Kalinoski, said she could not get enough of Sir Elton’s cast-offs.
She declared she would be back the following day, adding: “I bought over 60 items, some of which I will keep and some of which I will give to fans back in the US.”
Sir Elton, 53, hopes to beat the £330,000 he raised at his last sale in 1997.