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Lot #8024
Prince Collection of (350+) Dyed Fabric Samples for the Purple Rain, Parade, and Sign o' the Times Tours (1985-1987)

The many colors of Prince -Archive of over 350 dyed fabric samples that defined the outfits of Purple Rain, Parade, and Sign o' the Times

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Estimate: $6000+
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The many colors of Prince -Archive of over 350 dyed fabric samples that defined the outfits of Purple Rain, Parade, and Sign o' the Times

Exceedingly rare PRN wardrobe department collection of over 350 pieces of dyed fabric swatches used to create the various iconic tour outfits worn by Prince and his bandmates between 1985 and 1987, a prolific three-year period that dates to the Purple Rain Tour (1984-1985), the Parade Tour (1986), and the Sign o' the Times Tour (1987). The collection is highlighted by a three-ring binder that contains 57 sleeves and a total of 43 invoices that date from January 20, 1985, to December 23, 1987, with all documents issued by master fabric dyer Marliss Jensen, first under the business name Magic Marliss Design and later as the Iris Color Studio, both from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Of considerable importance are the earliest invoices and order sheets from PRN Productions, which indicate sales to the following: “Prince (Sara),” “PRN Productions,” “Julia Fry [design assistant]”, and “Louis & Vaughn Prince Account.” The reverse of two includes handwritten signed notes from costume designer Louis Wells, with one also signed on behalf of his longtime collaborator, Vaughn Terry. All of these invoices, which list sample descriptions and prices, include their original affixed fabric dye samples. Supplementing the binder is a large array of loose fabric swatches that contain several larger cut examples. As evidenced in this collection, multiple purple dye colors and fabrics were selected and presented to Prince and the wardrobe department for their approval. The chosen colors and fabrics would become synonymous with Prince and his legendary Purple Rain era.

The balance of the binder contains numerous dyed fabric samples of varying shapes and sizes that proved essential to the touring wardrobe of Prince and his bandmates during the Parade and Sign o' the Times tours. Acting as a time capsule of sorts, these color samples represent the aesthetic evolution of one of Prince’s most influential periods as a fashion icon. His ability to mix styles, fabrics, and colors in a way that was both glamorous and daring played a significant role in shaping fashion trends during the 1980s and beyond.

The Prince Estate is not affiliated, associated, or connected with RR Auction or this auction, nor has it endorsed, authenticated or sponsored the items available for auction. Further, The Prince Estate has not licensed any of its intellectual property to RR Auction.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: The Fashion of Prince Auction
  • Dates: #662 - Ended November 16, 2023