The never before seen in Australia exhibition celebrates the extraordinary life and style of Elvis Presley.
In an Australian exclusive and huge win for regional Victoria, Bendigo will celebrate the life and legacy of the “King of Rock’n’Roll” Elvis Presley with a major exhibition travelling from Memphis, Tennessee to Victoria in 2022.
Elvis: Direct from Graceland, curated by Bendigo Art Gallery in collaboration with Graceland trustees, including Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, and supported by the Victorian Government, will run from March to July and draw visitors from around Australia.
The key takeaways
- Elvis Presley: Direct from Graceland will arrive in Bendigo from 19 March – 17 July 2022.
- The exclusive exhibition is never before seen in Australia celebrating the extraordinary life and style of Elvis Presley.
- The exhibition highlights Elvis’s profound influence on music, design, art, and pop culture.
One of the most iconic public figures of the 20th century, Elvis’s influence on music, design, art, and pop culture was profound. He is arguably the single greatest influence on the history of modern men’s fashion, constantly referenced and re-mixed by designers and celebrities today.
From his humble childhood on the poverty line in small-town Mississippi, Elvis grew up immersed in the rich and diverse music cultures of the deep South. Only two years after cutting his first single at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, Elvis had signed a major record deal and virtually overnight shot to super-stardom the likes of which had never been seen before. In those early heady years, he purchased Graceland and created the private haven he would never sell, despite his ever-increasing fame over the following two decades.
In a time before celebrities had teams of personal stylists, Elvis carefully crafted his own look, borrowing from eclectic sources to perfect a ground-breaking new style. Decked out in threads from the ultra-hip Lansky Brothers store on Beale Street in Downtown Memphis, with slick coiffed hair and black mascara, Elvis’ appearance was as sensational as his music. His audacious style evolved over the decades: from the soft trousers and argyle socks of his youth, to the leather rocker of 1968, to the flamboyant bling of the 1970s. Elvis maintained long-term partnerships with not only the Lanskys, but designers such as Bill Belew – creator of the karate-inspired stage suits that rapidly evolved into the bejewelled jumpsuits of Las Vegas.
Direct from the Graceland archive, this forthcoming exhibition will feature 300 artefacts owned by Elvis, including a wide range of costumes and ultra-cool outfits, vintage memorabilia, and treasured items from his beloved Graceland home.
Fashion highlights include Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding outfits, the repurposed ’68 Special costume he wore to meet President Nixon, the diamond-encrusted Maltese cross necklace designed by Linda Thompson, and a dazzling array of Vegas jumpsuits and military uniforms.
Personal treasures include his gold telephone, baby clothes from his daughter Lisa Marie, karate gi, his first job application, his first-grade crayon box from Tupelo, a 1976 Red Bicentennial Custom Harley Davidson, and the bongos Priscilla gifted him on their first Christmas together in Graceland.
The latest feature in the successful Bendigo International Collections series (including Grace Kelly: Style Icon in 2012 and Bendigo Art Gallery and Twentieth Century Fox present Marilyn Monroe in 2016), Elvis: Direct from Graceland was made possible through a $500,000 grant from the Victorian government has, which Bendigo Art Gallery director Jessica Bridgfoot assures is not just for die-hard Elvis fans, but for anyone who is fascinated by the nature of American popular culture and the myths surrounding celebrity.
While Elvis never visited Australia, his appeal was global and the exhibition is expected to attract thousands of local and interstate visitors to the Bendigo region.
“We are so excited to be able to bring this iconic collection to Australia – the latest in an international series of exhibitions that pay homage to style icons including Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Balenciaga and Mary Quant.”
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Elvis: Direct from Graceland opens at the Bendigo Art Gallery on 19 March 2022. You can find out more here.