Tag Archives: Elvis Wardrobe

Disparate Prices on Elvis Clothing at Auction

Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auction
Gotta Have Rock and Roll continues to offer a wide selection of rock artist memorabilia, but their most recent auction didn’t bring the kinds of prices we are used to seeing on several Elvis items. The Auctions at Graceland have a distinct advantage by offering a hundred or more Elvis collectibles and having them on display when thousands of fans are in town for events like Elvis Week.

So, if you have some collectibles you want to sell, stick with the Auctions at Graceland, but if you are looking to buy, be sure to check out the next Gotta have Rock and Roll auction. Their Pop Culture Auction last month had a few items that went cheap or had no bids at all.

 

Pink Stage Pants with Black Saddle Stitching:

Elvis WearingPink Stage Pants With Black Saddle Stitching

Do you remember this photo of Elvis in a pink suit and Scotty and Bill wearing pink vests? I’m not sure what happened to Elvis’ coat, but the pants were auctioned last month.

Elvis Presley's Pink Stage Pants With Black Saddle Stitching

Elvis gave the pants to his cousin Gene Smith, along with some other clothes. Gene was the first of the ever-present Elvis buddies and performed many duties for Elvis including attending to his wardrobe. He provided a letter of provenance, and Gotta Have Rock & Roll supplied their own Certificate of Authenticity. In addition, the pants contained a Lansky Bros. label and another one that said Styled for Elvis Presley.

Lansky Bros label on Pink Pants

Styled for Elvis Presley Lansky Label

So, with all that, you’d think it was a slam dunk for the pants to meet or surpass the estimate of $3-5,000, but only three bids came in and the pants went for just $2,200. A real bargain.

 

White Leather Boots:

Elvis Presley's White Leather Boots

Elvis wore these white leather boots with square toes and black heels both on and off stage. He gave them to Charlie Hodge, who received dozens of clothing items during the sixteen years he lived downstairs at Graceland. It’s hard to find an auction of Elvis collectibles that doesn’t include at least one Elvis-gifted item to Charlie.

Elvis Wearing White Leather Boots

Gotta Have Rock and Roll may have dampened the enthusiasm of some buyers in their description of these accompanying photographs. The website says “photos of Elvis wearing the same, or nearly identical, boots on stage. I added the italics. However, Charlie Hodge provided a letter of provenance, so the estimate of $4-6,000 seemed reasonable. Only one person bid on the boots, and picked them off for just $3,000.

 

Painted Leather & Suede Jacket:

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather & Suede Jacket

Elvis usually wore this brown leather jacket with painted birds and whip-stitching as a shirt. When I saw the pre-auction estimate of $5-7,000 on this jacket, I thought it was too low. Look at this blow-up of the design on the back.

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather & Suede Jacket -- Back

Elvis gave this beautiful jacket to Shaun Nielson, a friend and singer in his back-up group The Voice, after a recording session in the Graceland jungle room. The jacket came with a letter of provenance from Nielsen and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, only one person bid on it and he got the shirt for just $4,000. If the seller had provided a photo of Elvis wearing it, the price probably have been double or more.

 

Blue Warm Up Suit with Red and White Stripes:

Blue Warm Up Suit With Red and White Stripes

Here’s another example of where a photo of Elvis wearing an item of clothing adds much to its value. He wore this warm up suit both at the racquet ball court and when he traveled from city to city on his plane the Lisa Marie. It is yet another item Elvis gave to Charlie Hodge. Of course it was accompanied by a letter of provenance from Charlie and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. However, the photo they offered was Elvis wearing a very similar warm-up suit.

Elvis Wearing Different Warm Up Suit

Close doesn’t count. The estimate was $4-6,000, but potential buyers must have been unimpressed, because not one even bid the $3,000 minimum.

 

Bell-Sleeved Shirts:

Elvis Presley's Bell Sleeved Shirts

This is a very informative comparison. Elvis owned these custom-made, pullover, V-neck shirts with large pointed collars and balloon sleeves in two colors, red and blue. He gave both to his close friend and valet Richard Davis one day when he was cleaning out his closet. Both had the same Elvis Presley custom made label and the IC Costume Company label. Both were accompanied by a letter of provenance from Richard Davis and a Gotta Have Rock & Roll Certificate of Authenticity. Both had the same minimum bid of $3,000 and estimate of $4-6,000, yet one had no bids and the other had nine bids and went for $8,565. Can you guess why the difference?

Elvis Presley Wearing Royal Blue Bell-Sleeved Shirt

There was no picture of Elvis wearing the red one. Like I’ve said many times, if you want to get into collecting Elvis clothing, buy the items with photos of him wearing them.

 

To be fair, some other Elvis wardrobe offerings at this auction brought in pretty substantial prices. Let’s look at them.

 

Custom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat with Faux Fur Collar

Elvis Presley's Custom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat With Faux Fur Collar

This tan suede trench coat with large faux fur collar was custom made for Elvis at Lansky Bros. This is another prime piece of his wardrobe that Elvis gave to Shaun Nielson. It has the Lansky Bros. label, letter of provenance, certificate of authenticity, and the all-important picture of Elvis wearing it. The bidding topped out at $8,577.

Elvis wearingCustom Made Tan Suede Trench Coat With Faux Fur Collar

 

Kissin’ Cousins” Film Worn Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

Elvis Presley's Kissin' Cousins Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

Wardrobe items from Elvis’ movies always have accompanying photos of him wearing them. I’m not sure why people go after movie clothes rather than personal ones, but this one brought in a smooth $6,000, a bit below the estimate.

Elvis Wearing Kissin' Cousins Cream Denim Jeans and Jacket

 

Blue Suede Pants with Brown Suede Flames

Elvis presley's Blue Suede Pants With Brown Suede Flames

Back-up singer Shaun Nielson picked out some really cool stuff when Elvis let him rummage through his closet after that recording session at Graceland. Elvis purchased these dark blue, suede bell bottom pants with brown suede flame design down the legs from what the website refers to as his favorite store in Las Vegas, Suzy Creamcheese. This is an exception to the rule when it comes to providing a picture of Elvis wearing the clothing item up for bid. There was none, but the pants went for $7,786 anyway, well above the estimate.

 

“EP” Blue Pajama Top:

Elvis Presley's EP Blue Pajama Top

The story is the same on this blue Munsingwear pajama top with his initials embroidered in white over the chest pocket. Elvis gave the pajama top to his good friend, and some time hair stylist Patti Parry, the only “female member” of his Memphis Mafia inner circle of friends. Patti sometimes styled Elvis’ hair, including for his Aloha from Hawaii special. Elvis gave the pajama top to Patti at his home in California when day when she was cold and asked for something to put on to keep her warm. She felt he always kept his room too cold. There is no photo of him wearing the pajama top, but it still went for $7,797.

 

There was no Elvis jewelry offered at this Gotta Have Rock and Roll auction, but there is an impressive item a fan from Denmark gave to Charlie Hodge for his many years of devotion to Elvis.

Charlie Hodge Bracelet

There’s a lot of 14k gold in this bracelet and dozens of diamonds. What I like best is the different TCB design with a horizontal lightning bolt.

Charlie Hodge Bracelet - Close-up

If Elvis had owned this, it surely would have gone for big bucks. It has been appraised at $14,000, but no one bid the minimum of $4,000. Wouldn’t the gold and diamonds alone make it a good investment? The owner should try again at the next Auction at Graceland.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Elvis’ Fashion Legacy

Elvis Presley Wearing Long Black Leather Coat

Sometimes I am sent a comp copy of a new Elvis book about to be released. ElvisBlog does not make a practice of giving free publicity for things. However,if a book contains something unique that I can build a blog article around, I’ll go with it.

Elvis Style Book Cover

I’ve already used one chapter of Elvis Style by Zoey Goto for a blog post back in September. This fascinating book covers Elvis’ history and influence on design and fashion. The last chapter is titled Elvis’ Legacy, and with the author’s permission, I reproduce it here, illustrated with a lot of photos. Here’s what famous fashion and design journalist Zoey Goto had to say about Elvis.

Elvis and Zoey Goto

Elvis and Zoey Goto

Elvis’ career and personal style were bookended by sheer brilliance. In the mid-1950s, Elvis Presley managed to singlehandedly change the way that America, and much of the world beyond, dressed.

Elvis 1960 Tied Shirt

 

From his clothing to his hair and home, he wrote the rulebook on how to use cultural appropriation with panache.

Elvis in Pink and Black

 

As a master of reinvention, he shape-shifted into a dapper Hollywood leading man in the 1960s and, just as others were writing him off as irrelevant, Elvis set the record straight with the legendary ’68 Comeback Special.

Elvis Backstage in Black Leather Suit

 

The pure drama of the subsequent Las Vegas era opened the floodgates for a wave of androgynous glam rockers…

androgynous glam rockers

leather-clad punk rockers, and attention-grabbing male peacocks.

leather-clad punk rockers

 

Certain aspects of Elvis’ lifestyle were ahead of the curve. He had a fondness for eclectic and kitsch interiors before the Postmodernism movement had truly taken hold. Elvis was also devoted to Southern-style cooking, decades before bearded hipsters would flock to cosmopolitan restaurants to sample it. It is, however, in the worlds of fashion and entertainment that Elvis continues to have the most tangible and direct influence.

Cool Elvis Out the Sun Roof

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“There isn’t a costume designer alive who hasn’t been inspired by Elvis,” acknowledges Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the regarded designer who created Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller costume and the wardrobes for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis and Indiana Jones Outfit

Deborah Nadoolman Landis

She is, however, quick to note that although Elvis’ style was very distinctive, he is also part of a larger continuum of showmen and women. Having been influenced by the theatricality of performers such as the great Liberace,

Liberace

Elvis in turn inspired a subsequent generation of style icons that bring us up to the present day.

“What do we ultimately have to work with as costume designers? Silhouette, colour and reflection. Elvis was able to harness all of these, but he certainly wasn’t the first person to do this. He is part of a long tradition of performers who use clothing as a tool – Michael Jackson, Madonna and Lady Gaga have all done this since.”

Michael Jackson Thriller jacket

For Nadoolman Landis, Elvis’ style bequest was showing men how to power dress. “Elvis’ 1970s stage-wear was almost a military look and the high collar was incredibly powerful.”

Elvis Presley Chain Jumpsuit

This is what he’s remembered for,” she states.

 

For Patricia Fields, fashion stylist for the hit television show Sex and the City,…

Patricia Fields and Sex and the City Costumes

Patricia Fields and Sex and the City Actresses

Elvis’ lasting legacy was the freedom of expression that he initiated. Nicknamed ‘The Great Seducer’, Elvis’ gyrating stage act was considered so sexual that his 1957 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was censored from the waist down.

Elvid on Ed Sullivsn Show Singing Dont Be Cruel

 

By challenging the social and moral values of his era, Elvis paved the way for erotically charged pop videos and stage acts that have since become customary. “Elvis made the girls scream and he made sexy cool. That is why he is The King,” Fields observes.

 

Barely a fashion season passes without at least a handful of designers tapping into the early Elvis rockabilly style. Alex Bilmes, editor of Esquire magazine

Alex Bilmes of Esqure Magazine

Alex Bilmes

recognizes that Presley’s style heritage has influenced contemporary musicians as much as everyday street wear. “Elvis’ influence on men’s style is incalculable. He is one of a handful of icons of mid-century Americana and you can still see his legacy everywhere.”

Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)

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,” Bilmes comments. “Elvis’ legacy can also be seen in the enduring appeal of jeans and jackets: that indefinable but instantly recognizable point where preppy meets rocker meets work wear meets tailoring,” Bilmes concludes.

 

Elvis may have dipped in and out of fashion throughout his career, but he always retained his natural style. All that Elvis was – from his fondness for camp interiors to his commitment to Southern home cooking, from his pastiche outfits to his theatrical shopping trips, was an uncompromising expression of his unique identity – now that’s true style!

Graceland's Elvis Fashion King ExhibitElvis Presley Fashion King Exhibit

Graceland has also been aware of Elvis’ fashion legacy. They launched this exhibit on March I, 2010.

 

The Elvis’ Legacy chapter in Elvis Style ended with several photographs. Here are a few along with the accompanying text.

Gold Suit

Liberace may have worn it first, and Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber since, but Elvis still remains the most famous star to step out in a dazzling gold suit. This recent reincarnation was sent down the runway by the Italian fashion house Costume National.

 

Elvis understood the power of attention-grabbing stage wear, memorably using it for the tailored suit worn for the ’68 Comeback Special. The high-street retailer H&M created a similar, Southern-plantation-style suit for their eco-conscious collection in 2013.

 

Shift Dress Printed with Elvis' Portrait

Ashley William’s’ debut collection at London Fashion Week took early Elvis as its inspiration. Williams experimented with double-denim, cigarette pants, teddy bear bags, and shift dresses printed with Elvis’ portrait. The nostalgic Americana collection also featured the embroidered catchphrase “My heart belongs to Elvis Presley.”

 

The source for this post, Elvis Style, by Zoey Goto has been a very successful book. If you’d like to own a copy, click here.

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.