Elizabeth Salaam 2 a.m., May 6
Dig a hole: Elvis outfitter Bernard Lansky
Garment king to the King dead at 85
Bernard Lansky was a Memphis-based schmate-peddler whose tips on sartorial nuance helped to establish a young Elvis Presley's signature clothing style.
It was Lansky who swathed Presley in his trademark pink and black shirts, pegged pants, two-toned shoes, and other innovative and outrageous (by '50's standards) accoutrement.
Lansky had no idea that it was Elvis Presley looking through the window of Lansky Brothers when the shopkeeper invited him in to inspect the merchandise. Presley said, "When I get rich, I'm going to buy you out," to which Lansky replied, "Don't buy me out. Just buy from me."
Elvis, who continued to shop there throughout his life, talked the place up. Business went through the roof and in no time Bernard Lansky became known as Clothier to the King.
The two became friendly. Lansky would frequently open the store after hours for the King to shop undisturbed. In Mid-August 1957, Elvis traded Lansky a three-wheel custom-built Messerschmitt in exchange for a two-and-a-half hour shopping spree at his clothing store.
According to the AP, Lansky opened his retail business in 1946 with a $125 loan from his father. When the war ended, the store started selling Army surplus goods. Lansky eventually transformed the place into a high-end men's clothing store, where he established a reputation as a natural born salesman and raconteur.
Lansky selected the white suit and blue tie that Presley was buried in. He got a kick out of letting customers know, "I put his first suit on him and his last suit on him."
Julie Lansky told the AP that her grandfather died Thursday at his Memphis home.
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