Elvis Presley: Graceland archives reveal his original Bill Belew costume designs and MORE

Elvis Presley’s Graceland is open to the public again after being temporarily shut down due to the pandemic. And now the museum’s Director of Archives Angie Marchese has shared another fascinating Inside the Archives video on Graceland’s official Instagram account. In the latest episode, fans are taken on a deep dive into items related to Bill Belew, the costume designer who worked on many of Elvis’ jumpsuits and clothes.

A caption on the video reads: “Graceland is open again for tours, but we’re back Inside The Archives to give you an exclusive look inside the top-secret facility where Elvis’ personal items are stored.

“In this episode, we’re taking a closer look at items pertaining to Elvis’ relationship with fashion designer and good friend, Bill Belew.

“In June of 1968, Elvis met Bill on the set of his upcoming TV special to go over costume ideas.

“He would then go on to make the black leather outfit and other items Elvis wore in the ’68 NBC Comeback Special.”

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Graceland is open again for tours, but we’re back “Inside The Archives” to give you an exclusive look inside the top-secret facility where Elvis’ personal items are stored. In this episode, we’re taking a closer look at items pertaining to Elvis’ relationship with fashion designer and good friend, Bill Belew. In June of 1968, Elvis met Bill on the set of his upcoming TV special to go over costume ideas. He would then go on to make the black leather outfit and other items Elvis wore in the ’68 NBC Comeback Special. Belew continued to design both on-stage and offstage wardrobe for Elvis throughout the 1970’s. Among the most famous of Belew’s Elvis jumpsuits are the American Eagle and the Peacock. He also designed the suit Elvis is wearing on the famous photo of President Nixon and him in the Oval Office, a velveteen outfit originally designed for Elvis to use in his Las Vegas shows. Make your plans to tour Graceland like never before at graceland.com

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Graceland added: “Belew continued to design both on-stage and offstage wardrobe for Elvis throughout the 1970’s.

“Among the most famous of Belew’s Elvis jumpsuits are the American Eagle and the Peacock.

“He also designed the suit Elvis is wearing on the famous photo of President Nixon and him in the Oval Office, a velveteen outfit originally designed for Elvis to use in his Las Vegas shows.”

In the video, the Graceland archivist started off showing fans receipts for some of Elvis’s Eagle jump suits and other items, coming in at thousands of dollars.

On one item, a black tuxedo and custom silk-ruffled shirt, Angie said: “That is the outfit Elvis wore to accept the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation award from the United States’ JCs in January 1971.

The archivist then headed over to the oversized items draws to show fans some of Bill’s original sketches for Elvis’ clothes.

One featured the blue jacket from the 1970 family photoshoot.

Angie revealed that Elvis gave an autographed one to President Richard Nixon when the King met him in the White House that Christmas.

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Fans can see it on display today at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California.

While the most impressive sketch was one of the outfits Elvis wore for the Madison Square Garden press conference.

The drawing featured different fabric choices for the King to choose from, added by Bill.

Graceland is located in Memphis, Tennessee and is open to tours.

Graceland’s re-opening statement read: “We are so excited to see you back at Elvis Presley’s Graceland! 100+ acres dedicated to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll will welcome back guests beginning Thursday, May 21.

“Graceland is committed to the health and safety of our guests and associates and has been working diligently to reconfigure all operations – including tours, retail and restaurants – to meet or exceed social distancing, capacity, and health and safety guidelines. With Mansion tours reduced to 25 per cent capacity, guests will have the unique opportunity to walk in Elvis’ footsteps like never before – in your own personal mansion tour space spread out from other guests.

“The state-of-the-art entertainment and exhibit complex over 200,000-square-feet in size, Elvis Presley’s Memphis offers guests the opportunity to tour the largest collection of Elvis memorabilia in the world in their own space, at their own pace. During the re-opening phase, restaurant capacities will be reduced by 50% and outdoor patio seating will also be available.      

“In addition to reduced capacities, Graceland’s new health and safety protocols include all associates wearing masks (guests are encouraged to wear masks, as well), temperature checks for both guests and associates, six feet social distancing markers placed throughout the property, enhanced sanitisation procedures featuring commercial-grade continuous cleaning, hand sanitisation stations and touchless payment options.”

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