These days, Elvis Presley impersonators are well familiar with cardinal collars, sequins, flares and slick black wigs (because whose hair could actually defy gravity like Elvis’?).
But when legendary Australian director Baz Luhrmann and Oscar winning costume designer Catherine Martin got together to recreate some of the most significant moments in Presley’s career onscreen in Elvis, they took that stereotypical list of items and raised everyone 10 more.
Now, Warner Bros. has released a featurette revealing Luhrmann and Martin’s vision, and how that translated to the screen.
Watch it in the player above.
Martin continues: “Baz wanted to tap into Elvis’ iconic style moments—we studied all the references to the nth degree.”
Of course, who better to wear the wardrobe so meticulously pulled together than Austin Butler? If Luhrmann and Martin spent that long studying Elvis’ wardrobe, you can only imagine how deep the actor went into learning the behaviour and personality of the star.
“[In Elvis] You look at the way he dressed throughout his career going back to the 50s, the loose shirts, the flowing pants, the custom shoes, the 60s black leather,” Butler explains, adding, “I also love the white jumpsuit.”
The film’s narrative covers Elvis’ career from when he was first discovered by Colonel Tom Parker in the 1950s right through to his Vegas residency and death in the late 1970s. For a movie so dedicated to getting the fashion right, these three transformative decades each needed their moment onscreen.
“It was about finding the distinct shift between periods,” Martin explains, “And we were lucky enough to rekindle collaboration with Prada and Miu Miu and Miuccia Prada to tell the Elvis story through iconic designs.
Indeed, watching the nearly three-hour film does induce a feeling of fashion whiplash—in the best way.
Many of us didn’t grow up with Elvis Presley, but we’re all well aware of his distinct style—including some of his specific items—so seeing it interpreted onscreen mixed with its juxtaposition and harmony with the styles of the time is somewhat of a sensory explosion. It’s a sparkling window to the past, one that’s very easy on the eyes.
To see the fashion evolution in person, Elvis will be released in theatres Australia wide on June 23.