By  on February 9, 2006

LOS ANGELES — He made Johnny Cash the "Man in Black," and put Elvis in gold lamé and many a crystal-covered jumpsuit.

Now Manuel, who made iconic and elaborate looks for country, Hollywood and rock royalty, and his son, Manuel Cuevas Jr., want to dress the rest of the world with a collection bound for retail that bows at the Bryant Park tents on Friday.

"I've been wanting to do this for a very long time," the younger Cuevas said during an interview, referring to creating a luxury brand based on more than five decades of design by his father, whose clientele has included Gene Autry and Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan and Elton John, k.d. lang and Keith Urban.

Manuel, 73, created the Lone Ranger's mask, dressed the characters in "Bonanza" and "Dallas," and designed Neil Young's wardrobe for the Jonathan Demme documentary "Heart of Gold," which opens this weekend.

With this new collection, stores from Dubai to Dallas will be able to offer $400 jeans, $800 silk shirts and a python topcoat for $10,000 — considerably less than what a custom version could run from the hands of Manuel and his team.

The cashmere and ready-to-wear will be produced in Italy, the leather goods in Mexico and the denim — cut from Japanese cloth — in California.

Although the family atelier relocated to Nashville in 1989, Manuel's roots are out West.

Born Manuel Arturo José Cuevas Martinez in Michoacán, Mexico, he was the fifth of 11 children, and learned at a young age how to wield a needle, tool leather and silver.

The senior Manuel opened in North Hollywood in the mid-Fifties after years working under two other tailors as famous as their Hollywood following: Sy Devore, who clothed the Rat Pack, and Western wear king Nudie Cohen.

Like his father, Cuevas, 33, spent his early years in the studio, where the famous paraded through. "I would go every day after school and sweep the floors, polish the silver and watch. I even started at the sewing machine at six, with the others looking over me."

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