Black cape from a costume worn by Nona Hendryx of Labelle

Designed by
Blakely, Dorian
Worn by
Hendryx, Nona, American, born 1944
Subject of
Labelle, American, founded 1962
Medium
synthetic fiber, metal, batting, and wire
Dimensions
H x W x D (On form): 68 × 26 × 25 in. (172.7 × 66 × 63.5 cm)
Type
capes (outerwear)
Place used
Metropolitan Opera House, New York City, Manhattan County, New York, United States, North and Central America
Date
1974
Description
This cape is part of a costume worn by Nona Hendryx of Labelle. The costume consists of a headdress (.1), a cape (.2), silver studded black leather collar, breast covers, and codpiece (.3a-d), wrist cuffs (.4ab), platform boots (.5ab), prop handcuffs (.6), and a prop riding crop (.7).
The floor-length cape (.2) is made of a black synthetic fabric with a shiny finish. The cape is open in the front, with no armholes, and closes with a silver metal zipper that runs from the upper edge of the bustline to the upper neck just below the chin. A tight-fitting hood, made from the same black material, is attached at the back neck. The collar and shoulders of the cape have attached padded decorations consisting of a wide collar made of two layers of the black material with batting between them that are quilted in undulating concentric lines. The sides of the bib are folded in an accordion fashion to create a wing-like structure on each shoulder. The edges of these wings contain stiff wire that is molded to the shape and sewn inside the outermost edge of the layers of black material. The seams of the quilted lines are obscured by lengths of small silver ball chain. Long lengths of the ball chain extend from the end of the shoulders with both ends attached, creating long loops in a concentric half-oval down the sides of the cape. The hem of the cape is padded and quilted with three (3) parallel lines, with the seams also covered in the silver ball chain.
The interior of the cape is not lined. There are custom-made oversized shoulder pads to support the quilted collar and wings.
This costume is very similar to a costume worn by Hendryx during a performance at the Metropolitan Opera House on October 6, 1974.
Topic
African American
Clothing and dress
Costume
Disco (Music)
Funk (Music)
Rhythm and blues (Music)
Rock and roll (Music)
Singers (Musicians)
Soul (Music)
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Nona Hendryx of Labelle
Object number
2014.246.2.2
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
See more items in
National Museum of African American History and Culture Collection
Classification
Clothing-Costume
Data Source
National Museum of African American History and Culture

NOTE: Cataloging is an ongoing process and we may update this record as we conduct additional research and review. If you have more information about this object, please contact us at NMAAHCDigiTeam@si.edu.