Elton John’s fourth London-based Out the Closet store opened on December 4, 2002.
In London’s fashionable Regent Street, the store went one better to previous versions – it was the first time it was located on a street serviced by red London buses!
More chance to stock up on mid-priced goods, but also some bargains, like designer neckties at £35 each!
Elton, wearing a black suit with diamante detail, made a brief visit to the Out The Closet IV shop to cut a ribbon.
Fans queued for hours in the rain to catch a glimpse of Elton before browsing through 17,000 items being sold to raise money for the Elton John Aids Foundation. Items include: 600 pairs of shoes, 200 belts, 100 pairs of sunglasses, alongside piles of jackets, coats, shirts and neckties.
And not just the obligatory Versace, but also Gucci and Prada items were on show, as well as Ralph Marlin ties.
The collection included some of Elton’s famously outlandish stage outfits and designer-wear donated by his partner David Furnish and friends Victoria and David Beckham.
The store was an instant hit with the fans, and organisers said they were very pleased with the initial reception.
“We have about 17,000 items to sell and all you see here today is a few of them,” Robert Key, director of EJAF told EJW.com.
“Most of the items belong to Elton and David, but we have a few from Victoria and David Beckham,” he added.
Two years ago, a store of 20,000 items sold out in just four days, Key said. Back then, over £430,000 was raised for charity.
A pair of pink brocade lederhosen with a padded pink heart on the front, which Elton wore for his 1974 performance in Madison Square Garden with John Lennon, was among the most expensive pieces, with a reserve price of £35,000.
Another was a multi-coloured plumed outfit made for his 1977 appearance on The Muppet Show.
Victoria Beckham donated two Maria Grachvogel creations, including a chocolate-coloured dress she wore for her Walker’s crisps advert, while her footballer husband gave away a grey Gianni Versace suit.
Furnish, dressed in Christian Dior, said: “We do this to raise as much money as we can for HIV and Aids. Forty-two million people are infected with the disease and it’s growing. It is a disease that knows no boundaries or prejudices.
“It’s a very small thing we do. You go through the wardrobe and say: ‘Get it out’ and it’s fun to do. It’s very therapeutic and you know how much you can do with the money so it’s a great thing.
“There’s a real cross section of cast-offs of both Elton’s and mine. From the most rock and roll, wild and outrageous items to the most classic, gorgeous, subdued little items. There are ties for £35, two stage pieces for £35,000.”
The store is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10am to 7pm, and also has shorter trading hours on Sundays.
The store was opened at midday on December 4, 2002, following Elton’s ceremonial attendance.
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