Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits is a celebration of the innovative style-world of Elvis Presley, from his wonderfully expressive hairstyles, clothing and cars, to his unique home interiors.
Written by Zoey Goto, a fashion and design journalist for many of the leading international magazines including GQ, GQ Style, NME, Elle and Numero, Elvis Style speaks to a number of leading design experts to shed fresh light on Elvis’ design choices and influence. These include Sex & the City stylist Patricia Fields, Academy Award-winning costume designer Mark Bridges, Elvis’ personal car-customizer George Barris, and Hal Lansky of Lansky Brothers.
Elvis Style includes more than 175 photos, many of which show rarely seen before Elvis-worn garments, interiors and cars from The King’s extensive private collection.
Click through the gallery to see the pictures—accompanied by Goto-penned captions, excerpted from Elvis Style—for yourself, and order the book here.
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"Elvis' influence on men's style is incalculable and you can still see his legacy everywhere. For example, Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys is channelling the '68 Comeback Special even when he's just popping to the shops for cigarettes," comments Esquire magazine's Alex Bilmes in Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits.
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Like other icons of the era such as Marlon Brando and James Dean, Elvis understood the allure of the defiant outsider. This photo taken in 1956 shows Elvis challenging his inner rebel, while sitting upon his Harley-Davidson bike outside his Memphis home.
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Although Elvis never worked with a fashion stylist, he would gratefully take advice from the designers and tailors who dressed him. Elvis is shown here with Bernard Lansky of Lansky Bros in Memphis. Lansky is said to have been the first person to flip Elvis' collar – a look that would soon became one of Elvis' trademarks.
Bernard J. Lansky collection
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Elvis with Bernard Lansky in the 1950s. Lansky Bros. dressed Elvis throughout most of his adult life. Their impressive client list has also included B.B. King, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Isaac Hayes, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Bernard J. Lansky collection
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Elvis' hot pink shirt. "In the 1950s my father introduced pink and black into Elvis' wardrobe, at a time when it was considered feminine' recalls Hal Lansky of the Lansky Bros. store, where Elvis was a regular customer. 'Back then "real men" wouldn't wear pastel pink but it soon became a 50s thing, with pink clothing, Cadillacs and flamingo motifs becoming popular."
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Elvis' early stage performances provoked both outrage and admiration. A young Roy Orbison described the awe with which he watched his first Elvis concert in 1955. "First thing, he came out and spat on stage. In fact he spat out a piece of chewing gum…his diction was real coarse like a truck driver's…I can't overemphasize how shocking he looked and seemed to me that night."
Library of Congress
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Elvis sporting his famous pompadour hairstyle. The timeless style continues to influence contemporary performers, with Bruno Mars (who, incidentally started his show business career as an Elvis impersonator), Justin Timberlake, Rihanna and Gwen Stefani adopting variations of Elvis' rebel hairstyle.
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Elvis' red velvet drape jacket, with black satin trim. Elvis' influence on 1950s menswear reached far beyond America, influencing the British Teddy Boys who mixed Elvis' rockabilly style with elements of Edwardian dandy dress.
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"You know, when some people get down and out, they go out and get drunk and forget it all. Me, I just go out and buy another car," Elvis once said. Elvis' car buying sprees soon became the stuff of legends and he is said to have purchased over 270 cars during his lifetime - the majority of which were given away to friends and family.
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Elvis hits the surf for his role in Blue Hawaii (1961). The film's commercial success became both a blessing and a curse for Presley, providing a blueprint for future films that became increasingly creatively stifling. "The problem is, they keep trying to make GI Blues and Blue Hawaii over and over again, and all they do is move the scenery around a little," Elvis accurately observed.