A Closer Look at Elvis’ Gold Lamé Suit

Editor’s note:  The set of Elvis Gold Suit photos has been sold.


I learned something last week. The worst way to try to sell a set of killer photographs of Elvis is to show all of them together in one picture.

That makes them too small to really see how great they are, especially for the two-thirds of ElvisBlog readers get it delivered to their smartphone.


What I should have done is show big pictures of them individually. Like this:

Now, that’s more like it. You can see that Elvis is wearing the coat from the famous Gold Lamé Suit, but not the pants. The gold tie is gone, replaced by a flashy medallion. Elvis liked the gold belt, so he’s got that on.


Here a shot with Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Scotty is so staid, while Elvis is smoking hot doing his famous hip moves. The hair falling over the forehead is great.

How about this one! Elvis is going full-blast. Check out his hair; it looks like that because he is bouncing up-and-down. Scan down to his shoes and you can see him coming down to land from the bounce.

I love the look on his face. As often noted on this blog, his eyes during performances are almost hypnotic. And have you ever seen a picture of Elvis with his mouth open this wide while singing?

Finally, this photograph is special because of the famous guitar he is slinging. There are many other pictures around of Elvis and that guitar, but none of them have Elvis looking this animated.


I’m glad Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires is in this photo with Elvis. He bought me a meatloaf dinner at Elvis Week 2007, and he told some wonderful Elvis stories.

Elvis is not in motion here; maybe singing a love song. When I look at my actual photo I can see the hair over his ear is swept straight back and it looks like he just got a haircut.


And here we have Elvis in the full Gold Lamé Suit: Coat, tie, belt, pants, and shoes. This spectacular shot of Elvis in action leaves the standard Gold Suit publicity photo we see all the time in the dust.


Let’s look at a brief history of Elvis’ famous Gold Lamé Suit and then come back to discuss these pictures some more.


Col. Parker commissioned Nudie Cohn of Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors to design the flashy gold suit at a cost of $2,500 ($23,200 in today’s money).

While the fans loved the outfit, the one person who did not like the suit was Elvis himself. Lamé is not an easy fabric to wear since it is made of thin ribbons of metallic threads. The gold pants created problems for Elvis since the gold sequins would flake off when he slid on his knees while performing. Plus, he disliked the gold pants because they were not flattering. That is very evident in my photo.

Elvis wore the gold lamé suit for the first time in public on March 28, 1957, at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago. He wore it for the final time on April 2 at the second show at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The last photo above was taken at this show by a photographer for the Toronto Star newspaper.

So, there was just a six day span when Elvis wore the full gold suit outfit, and he didn’t wear it at all of the performances in this period.

For most of his 1957 concert performances, Elvis substituted black pants for the gold. He still wore the gold belt and jacket, but rarely wore the gold shoes or necktie. That is the case in the first four photos above, which were taken at Elvis’ show on April 3, 1957 at the Memorial Auditorium in Ottawa.


Now, let me explain how I happen to have these photographs. I bought them thirteen years ago from my friend and fellow Elvis-blogger, Alan Hanson. He is the author of the wonderful book Elvis ’57: The Final Fifties Tours.

You will find it interesting how Alan acquired these photos:

I purchased the full gold suit photo from the Toronto Star. I had seen the photo in a copy of the newspaper when I was doing research on my book. I had done some research on Canadian copyright law and learned that copyrights of photographs there expire 50 years after they were taken. Since I was writing my book in 2007, the copyright on the Toronto Star photo had just expired.

The lady I spoke with at the Star confirmed that was true. So I had to pay $10 or so for them to send me a scan of the photo, but I didn’t have to pay a fee to use it in my book. Also, I was free to sell copies of the photo since it was then in the public domain.

Likewise, I paid $3 or so for copies of all the photos taken in Ottawa from the City of Ottawa Archives. Since I knew the copyrights had expired in Canada on all of those photos, I used several in my book and offered copies for sale on my website. Since the Ottawa Archives had sent me all the photos as scans on a CD, it was easy to have 8 X 10 copies made. I sold a number of photos,

Including a set to me. But, now I am willing to part with them. They are stunning glossy photographs on heavy photo paper. The detail is sharp. Check it out on this blow-up of Elvis’ head from the first picture.


When I scanned my photos for this post, they went into my files at 1,700 x 2,200 pixels. You could make life-sized posters out of them and they would still be sharp.


So, have I convinced anyone out there that this set is a wonderful collectible for an Elvis fan?

To make it an even better package, I will include quality blow-ups of three of the Elvis head shots.



Okay, who’s going to step up and get the five photographs and three fabulous head shots for just $20? The first person to let me know by email (philarnold@charter.net) will get them. Add $7 for Canadian destinations. Please do not use Comments to notify me.

Thanks for your support.

Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister


To find out more about Alan Hanson’s excellent book Elvis ’57: The Final Fifties Tours, please click here.

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