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sábado, 6 de março de 2010

Exhibit takes peek into Elvis' closet; from clothes to bling to bang

It was almost 58 carats smaller than Elizabeth Taylor's big diamond, but, at 11.5 carats, the diamond solitaire added a little extra bling to Elvis Presley's closet.

And, unlike Taylor's diamond, Elvis' ring was surrounded by lightning bolts and his "TCB" emblem.

It is one of the flashiest of 200 items -- from bold orange and purple paisley shirts to 45-caliber pistols with custom-made turquoise handles -- you would have found in Elvis' closet. The closet door officially opens Monday as a new exhibit, "Elvis Presley Fashion King," with a look at outfits, shoes, hats and accessories that Elvis wore offstage.

"These are everyday wear that you might see him in if he went out to the movies or was riding horses or riding a Harley-Davidson on Elvis Presley Boulevard," said catalog and inventory specialist Sheila James in the archives department of Graceland. She was adjusting the collars on one of 50 shirts as visitors stopped by during a soft opening Friday.

Much of the clothing was from the late 1960s and early '70s when fashion was in revolution mode. Few were more revolutionary than Elvis, who helped set fashion trends with hairstyles, turned-up collars, karate-style leisure suits and crushed velvet anything.

While there are plenty of gold and guns, you won't find blue suede shoes or blue denim.

"It's a misconception that Elvis wore blue suede shoes in spite of the song, and blue jeans reminded Elvis of being poor. He rarely wore them except in movies or while working on his ranch," said Graceland spokesman Kevin Kern.

Look closely at the Elvis shirts, and you'll notice many of them had elastic in the wrists and at the elbows, said Graceland archivist Angie Marchese. Elvis liked the "poofy" look that was custom-made by Lansky Brothers on Beale Street and by the Ice Capades Costume Co.

"There's no doubt he had interesting tastes," said Birmingham police officer Sean Richardson as he toured the exhibit Friday. "I think it was pretty outlandish, but I think everything back then was like that."

High school science teacher Amy Dertlin of Pueblo, Colo., said, "It's enjoyable to see the outlandish clothes, but also how good he looked in them. And I'm envious of all his jewelry."

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