MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) - Bernard Lansky, the Memphis retailer who helped a young Elvis Presley establish his signature clothing style of pegged pants, two-toned shoes and other flashy duds in the 1950s, has died. He was 85.
Julie Lansky, the clothier’s granddaughter, said he died Thursday at his Memphis home.
After World War II, the store started selling Army surplus goods on Beale Street. When the supply dried up, they opened a high-fashion men’s store, where Bernard Lansky established his reputation as a natural salesman and storyteller.
“It’s a statement to say that he dressed one of the most influential entertainers of all time,” Julie Lansky said in a telephone interview. “He knew that for any entertainer, they had to look different.”
Even though his style of dress changed over the years _ including sparkling jumpsuits _ Presley shopped at Lansky Bros. the rest of his life. Presley died at his Memphis residence, Graceland, in 1977.
“I put his first suit on him and his last suit on him,” Lansky was fond of saying.
At the time, Beale Street was a hot spot for blues, rhythm and blues and jazz, and drew a colorful parade of musicians, gamblers and hustlers from the Mississippi Delta.
Presley began hanging around Beale Street as a teenager and picked up quickly on its music.
“He said, `When I get rich, I’m going to buy you out,’” Lansky said in a standard version of the story. “I said, `Don’t buy me out. Just buy from me.’ And he never forgot me.”View Entire Story
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