Bernard Lansky: Elvis Clothier Dies At 85

Bernard Lansky, most famous for being Elvis‘ clothier, died on Thursday at the age of 85. Lansky was the Memphis retailer who helped a young Elvis Presley find his signature pegged pants and two-toned shoes.

Bernard Lansky and his brother Guy started their retail business in 1946 with the help of their father, Samuel, who lent them $125, reports Yahoo! News.

The store sold Army surplus goods on Beale Street after World War II ended, but, when the supply dried up, they turned toward men’s high-fashion. It was there that Elvis’ clothier became known as a natural salesman and storyteller.

Lansky Bros. became Elvis’ supplier of his famous attire including his pink and black shirts. Julie Lansky, the clothier’s granddaughter, stated:

“It’s a statement to say that he dressed one of the most influential entertainers of all time. He knew that for any entertainer, they had to look different.”

While his style of dress changed over the years to include sparkling jumpsuits, Elvis shopped at Lansky Bros. for the rest of his life until he passed away at his Memphis residence, Graceland, in 1977, notes

Elvis’ clothier also picked out the suit Presley wore when he was buried. He was fond of saying, “I put his first suit on him and his last suit on him.”

Bernard Lansky met Elvis Presley when the future King of Rock ‘n’ Roll worked as an usher at a nearby theater. He had a penchant for window shopping at Lansky’s. Elvis’ clothier recalled:

“He said, ‘When I get rich, I’m going to buy you out.’ I said, ‘Don’t buy me out. Just buy from me.’ And he never forgot me.”

Elvis was not the only musician to visit the clothier either. Along with thousands of Elvis’ fans, he also hosted B.B. King, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, ZZ Top, Kiss, and Hootie and the Blowfish, who have all stopped by to shop and visit the famous store.

Bernard Lansky also worked long after many people would retire. Before his death, Elvis’ clothier stated, “What am I goign to retire for? What am I going to do? I get here every morning at 6 o’clock, seven days a week.”

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