The Outfits in Elvis Tell a Deeper Story — Including the Iconic White Jumpsuit

Warner Bros.

The name Elvis Presley is one basically everybody familiar with. He was a rockstar who has been cemented into a legend, and despite passing away 45 years ago, his music still reigns. Now, thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis, the King of Rock’s story is being revisited — and yes, his iconic white jumpsuit makes an appearance.

There are two things that come to mind when thinking of Presley: His catchphrase, “thank you very much” and his bedazzled, leather outfits. His onstage persona was vastly different to his personal life, and his costumes represented that.

There are approximately 400,000 Elvis impersonators walking the streets of Vegas, all donning the famous white suit. They don’t need to tell you who they’re imitating, because one look at them tells you everything there is to know. 

His clothing was a huge part of him, which is why Luhrmann wanted the outfits to tell a story.

“Baz is always thinking when he’s writing the script, what clothes would go into what scene,” costume and set designer Catherine Martin — who is also Luhrmann’s wife — told POPSUGAR Australia.

“There’s very much kind of direction from Baz, on what he would like to see,” she continued. “Then there’s a discussion and development between the two of us, to kind of really discover what’s going to support the story best.”

Getty Images

“For instance, with the white jumpsuit in the Vegas scenes, it was really important to find Elvis at his classic best,” Martin explained. “So, in reality, for the opening night and actually for the first year, he didn’t wear jumpsuits. He wore a tunic top with a belt and pants.

“But Baz felt really strongly that this would just disconnect people from Elvis in the ‘70s, because he’s associated entirely with jumpsuits, particularly white jumpsuits.”

Martin and her team spent years researching and sorting through archives in order to recreate Presley’s wardrobe accurately. No detail went unnoticed, and the result was a brilliant display of fashion in a film about music. 

While the clothes were fascinating to observe, they didn’t just make their way into the plot to look pretty. Each piece carried a deeper meaning, even his famous white jumpsuit.

“We did a deep dive on every jumpsuit he’s ever worn, and we made a decision to chronologically, show the suits out of order,” she said. “So, we went from a very pure white, classic suit to a more colourful suit as his life became crazier. His clothes became crazier to become parallel with his existence.

“So, when it came to the white suit, it was important for us to find the most classic, most pared down — but quintessentially Elvis — look so that people just immediately locked in, that this was him at his height. It’s all about supporting the story.”

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis is out in HOYTS Cinemas nationwide on June 23.

Related Posts
Latest Celebrity
The End.

The next story, coming up!