Known for creating fantastic spectacles and possessing rare charisma, the magnificent and flamboyant Wladziu Valentino Liberace was a world-renowned star in the entertainment industry for more than four decades, and is particularly celebrated for the outrageous costumes that people remember and most associate with him.
In Liberace Extravaganza!, Liberace’s famous sequined, bejeweled, and rhinestone-studded outfits, as well as his extravagant collection of furs and feather capes, are exhibited in book-form for the very first time. Authors Connie Furr Soloman and Jan Jewett are well-established costume designers and have been given exclusive access by the Liberace Museum and Foundation to photograph Liberace’s costumes. They will trace their incredible development from Liberace’s humble beginnings as a young man performing in his brother’s hand-me-downs, to his $24,000 suits (more than 10 of which were worn during his 80 minute performances) covered in layers of silk and satin ruffles, Austrian Swarovski crystal rhinestones, and 14k white gold diamond encrusted buttons, to his “electric” costumes, the first ones ever created, that featured four thousand light bulbs and weighed more than twenty-five pounds.
The book will include a foreword from Michael Travis, Liberace’s principle designer, interviews with Jim Lapidus and Anna Nateece, two of Liberace’s most celebrated designers, and Ray Arnett, Liberace’s stage manager. The designers will give first-hand accounts of what it was like to work with the self-proclaimed “Mr. Showmanship.” Also featured will be 20 drawings, pulled from the designers’ original sketchbooks, which were used to create some of Liberace’s most famous costumes.