Elvis fan Penny McCormick on how THE KING has left his mark on fashion …
Forty two years after Elvis Presley’s death, (he would have been 84 today), the impact of his personal style can still be seen on the catwalks.
Look no further than Tom Ford SS19’s show which channeled (arguably) his best concert – the 1968 Comeback Special – when a slimmed down Elvis was dressed head-to-toe in black leather.
Or take Balmain’s or Jacquemus’s SS19 edit, which reference his love of fringing and bling. Elvis’s “Aloha” jumpsuit caused a sensation when he wore it in 1970, which became as famous as his black belt karate moves on stage.
Presley’s style tropes are now iconic – the flares, the star-spangled white jumpsuits (designed by William Lewis Belew), high-angular Cuban collars, and white boots. As for accessories, he had a preference for chunky jewellery including a signet ring bearing the initials “TCB” (taking care of business) and large gilt belts, usually bearing an American eagle. Does any of that sound familiar? Ardent fashionistas will have bought Ganni’s white boots, noted the heavy jewellery and logos at Valentino, or have earmarked a jumpsuit (Zimmerman’s, please) as an essential transitional buy for spring.
It’s not just this season which is upping its Elvis; I would argue that our present love of embellishment, and particularly sequins, have much to do with Elvis.
Past collections by Raf Simons, Riccardo Tisci, Jeremy Scott and Michael Halpern, to name a few, have all cited The King and Americana as inspiration. Even the demure royal couturier Catherine Walker designed (in 1989) what Diana, Princess of Wales later called her “Elvis” dress, encrusted with pearls and with a high collar.
Diana wasn’t the only society belle who liked The King. When “Debo” the Duchess of Devonshire died, Elvis’s How Great Thou Art was played at her funeral. Other fans included musicians (Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon) as well as presidents Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton. When Elvis met Richard Nixon – which must count as one of the oddest Oval Office meetings – the president is alleged to have commented, “You dress kinda strange.”
“Well, Mr. President,” Elvis replied, “you got your show, and I got mine”. For fans like myself, long may that show continue sartorially.
The Gloss Team’s Favourite Elvis Songs
Sarah Halliwell: Suspicious Minds
Tracy Ormiston: Blue Suede Shoes
Aislinn Coffey: Not a fan of his songs, but love his films!
Síomha Connolly: Can’t Help Falling in Love
Jessica Weimer: Suspicious Minds
Penny McCormick: If I can Dream
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