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'My Name is Prince' Exhibition to Open at the O2

Prince performing at his first ever UK gig at the Lyceum, London in 1981. © Tony Mottram

The many iconic outfits worn by beloved musician Prince (aka Prince Rogers Nelson) are coming to London for the exhibition My Name is Prince. The show, which opens on 27 October at The O2, will be the first time garments like The Purple One’s ruffled white shirt and glossy purple coat will be leaving his private estate in Minnesota, known as Paisley Park, since his death on 21 April 2016.

The O2 says that, “Visitors will get a unique insight into the life, creativity and vision of one of the most naturally gifted recording artists of all time. Fans visiting My Name Is Prince will have a chance to witness awe-inspiring exhibits including instruments, stage outfits, awards and handwritten song lyrics.”

Purple Rain jacket. Image: John Wagner

Among the hundreds of items on show will be various clothes from the Purple Rain tour of 1984 and 85, and his 1988 to1989 Lovesexy tour. His film wardrobe worn in the film Graffiti Bridge, his Gibson L65 guitar which was used in his 1980 national television debut on American Bandstand. And his orange cloud guitar made, but not used, for Prince’s 2007 Super Bowl halftime performance.

The orange Cloud guitar. Image: John Wagner

The exhibition will take place in the same venue where he performed 21 record-breaking, sold-out concerts in August and September 2007—a record still held now—which is celebrating its 10th year anniversary.

“This is the first time we’ve taken any items out of Paisley Park.” Prince’s younger sister Tyka Nelson told the Guardian. “I’m so excited to be able to meet the fans and share their Prince stories and give them hugs, and have a cry with them if need be.”

Prince posing backstage at the Paradiso, Amsterdam during his Dirty Mind Tour in 1981. © Virginia Turbett

Also on show will be the diamond studded cane with the ‘love symbol” on it, along with the Third Eye sunglasses which featured on the cover of his 2014 album Art Official Age—and which he also wore when he performed on Saturday Night Live a couple of months after the LPs’ release.

“I love the cane and the glasses,” his sister said. “I love the guitars. I love, love, love the clothes, and the shoes! Every single piece that he keeps over the years becomes my favourite.”

The diamond studded cane. Image: John Wagner

Nelson says that London was Prince’s favourite city outside of the US, which is why she chose it to host the exhibition of unseen items. “London was the city that accepted Prince the most. It was the obvious choice of where we should exhibit first, it just felt right.” she told the Evening Standard. “There are lots of never-before-seen articles that my brother had stored over the years, and it will be the first time they have ever left Paisley Park. The stand out piece for me is his orange Cloud guitar. It is strange because people always associate the colour purple with Prince, but his favourite colour was actually orange.”

Prince performing at his first UK gig in London, June 1981. © Tony Mottram

Along with the exhibition also in store for fans of Prince is the enticing opportunity to hear some posthumously-released music from the legendary musician. There's no date on when this will be exactly, but earlier this year Universal Music Group acquired the rights to a vast stash of unreleased material from Prince that he stored in the famed Paisley Park vault. The archive features live albums, unreleased singles, music videos, and even entire movies produced by the musician.

Nelson said, “It was always his wish to make all of the material made public, and I will do everything in my power to make sure his wish comes true.”

Find out more about the exhibition and buy tickets here.

Prince's jacket from film 'Graffiti Bridge'. Image: John Wagner

Rockarchive is delighted to offer many iconic Prince images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.