This might be a tough question to answer.
I'm wondering who decided which jumpsuit Elvis was to wear on stage for each show?
Would it be Elvis, or someone else?
The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...
did he also decide what they should look like
I think that Elvis also decide what they should look like.
He had an idea and the designer Bill Belew made them.
Some of you all never been down South too much...
I'm gonna tell you a little story, so you'll understand where I'm talking about
I think it's about time to bust a myth here. First of all it's hard to determine exactly who decided what jumpsuit Elvis would wear that night. Elvis had a strong opinion in a lot of things but he was not the person to use any force to get his opinion across.
Before a show Elvis always had to deal with a lot of stress and there were a lot of things on his mind. One of the most important reasons for having so much people around him is to relieve him from anything that has not directly to do with giving a show. Although his wardrobe is an important factor. There were a few people responsible for his wardrobe. Al Strada, Dean Nichopoulos and Ricky Stanley. They would take out a suit from the rack and lay it before Elvis. Maybe in some cases Elvis would dissagree but most of the times Elvis would agree.
Now for the jumpsuit ideas. A lot of people believe the stories about Elvis having strong opinions about his wardrobe. That was not the case. Elvis handed himself completely over to the designers. I'm mentioning "disigners" because there was not only one as the myth tells you over and over.
From 1968 until somewhere in 1971 Bill Belew was the top designer for Elvis. He was the man who invented the jumpsuit and he deserves credit for it. But as time goes by he received so many requests from other artists in the business he could not find time to design for Elvis exclusively. At this period a young New York designer named Gene Doucette was already working on Elvis' suits. He had some strong ideas about the patterns on the suits and talked about it with Bill, who gave him an opportunity to do some designs. From that time on Gene kinda took over. All jumpsuits from the November tour of 1971 until the very last jumpsuit in 1976 were designed by Gene Doucette.
The only time Elvis was very admitted to the design of a jumpsuit was in late 1972 when they were to design a suit for the upcoming Aloha special
Only this time Elvis was very strong in expressing what he wanted and why.
Hey Leroy, you are right suits were left out for Elvis, but as you rightly said it was Elvis who decided which one he would wear.
The Sun Never Sets On A Legend...
Was it Elvis' decision to switch to two-part suits in 1975? And switch back to 1-piece jumpsuits?
Who did order the jumpsuits? Was it on Elvis' wish to order a new one? If so (or if not), why did he wear the mexican sundial suit for such a long time in 1977?
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i do agree with you leroy about the suits being laid out , but i recall AL STRADA saying in "87 at TOD SLAUGHTERS convention that since 75 he would be the one to help E.P. decide and that ELVIS would rarely argue with him except when it came to the FLAME SUIT, E.P. hated it, AL recalled that ELVIS grabbed it from off the bed and threw across the room, maybe TOD if your out there you can comment.
if anyone out there has candid photos from dayton 76 i sure would l;ike to buy , if you have negs or contact sheets, i will pay top dollar for them, just send me a pm, thanks.
As for why Elvis wore the Sundial suit almost exclusively in 1977, the main reason that has been given over all of these years was that Elvis had gained so much weight, it was really the only jumpsuit that still fit him fairly well.
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The problem with many men that once surrounded Elvis is that each year their story changes. And in all their stories is just one bottom line: "I was important to Elvis!".
I do not believe the story about the "Flame Suit". He didn't like it. That's true. But he was also aware many fans might like it so he wore it several times. He also did't want to hurt the designer so he at least tried it.
Most of the times when he didn't like a certain suit he would wear it just once, mostly in Vegas, or not at all.
i agree that elvis asociates do always contridict themselves, lord knows that ESPOSITO, and KLIEN have done this numerous times not to mention the STANLEYS, which many of these guys were loaded half the time , don't know what they ate the night before let alone what they saw heard happened thirty years ago, but im found strada sincere.
It is not true that the "Mexican Sundial" was the only suit that still fitted. During the June tour of 1977 he was less heavy than in 1976. There were numerous jumpsuits that would have fitted him. Especially because most suits after 1974 were designed to let out if Elvis would gain weight. Remember that at the beginning of the last tour Elvis wore the 1974 "Arabian". Other suits he could have worn were the 1975 "Chief", the 1975 "V-neck", the 1974 "Blue Swirl".......
But I strongly believe the reason for wearing the "Mexican Sundial" over and over again was because he was saying goodbye. If you examine the Aztec Calender stone on the front and back of the suit it says 16-8 all over.
The rumour about the so-called "Laser Suit" is what it says; just a rumour. Kept alive by Bill because the fans like to hear it, it's just good entertaining at Elvis meetings.
It was meant as a suit covered with mirrors that would catch the stage lights and create the effect of lasers beams. In fact the technigue was not available in 1977 to create a laser suit.
Leory wouldn't the crew bring like 20 or little less than that jumpsuits then like Joe, or someone would pick 5 from that from that night? Then Elvis would pick from those 5 depending on what kind of suits the band members where wearing? I notice a lot of his suits matched either Charlie, JD, or Mr. Neilson? Now I know I can be totally wrong on this.
Also, if I remember right the two piece suits came about in 1975 because Elvis new he was over weight and he was afraid to the fans would notice so he wore 2-Pieces for a while. But when everyone said it didn't matter to them he wore the jumpsuits again.
But from what his friends and family members I met over the years. They also said in March, April Elvis was really down.
Love to all,
wasn't he wearing a two piece costume on stage in 1975 because there was a rumor the kill Elvis. The only place Elvis was not safe, was on stage. He wore these suits so he could hold a gun under his costume without the audience to see it.
Erik van den Berg
Boarding the Lisa Marie with Dick Grob in Dayton, OH on October 27, 1976 on his way to his last show of the tour at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL
Photos are from Paul's Elvis page.
Erik van den Berg
thanks ERIK , but i'm looking for candid on the way to that nights performance, there is a girl with him and it is not linda or sheila , just wonderin who it is ,cause the film i have shows a real pretty lady, but from afar.Thanks again.