We all love The King. The music, the attitude, and the style. He had a quality that we can not define, yet we all can see. But who was the man behind him, the one who made those famous jump suits that everyone remembers?
Bill Belew. Not only did he make Elvis’s jumpsuits he also made the famous tight black leather outfit Elvis wore on his 1968 television special.
Bill Belew was a costume designer who’s career spanned over 50 years. Not only did he design for Elvis he also designed for Ella Fitzgearld and Gloria Estefan. However, when he designed Elvis’s jumpsuit, and then Elvis making it famous he helped completely change how people viewed rock ‘n’ roll fashion. Gone were the suits and ties that people would wear while performing. Now Stars like Elvis could wear extravagant outfits that matched their music. Belew designed it. Elvis made it famous.
Belew started working with Elvis in 1968 when Elvis wanted him to design an outfit for his 1968 comeback. This lead to a relationship that would produce the most iconic outfit in rock ‘n’ roll history. Elvis’s jumpsuit. By the 1970′s it is believed that Elvis had complete confidence in Belew’s work, and it showed. Belew made some of the most extravagant jumpsuits for The King. With Belew’s designs the King of Rock ‘n’ roll looked like a king. One of the best things about the designs were they did not hide the King’s masculinity. Only Belew could have designed an over the top outfit, and make it look like a King was meant to wear it.
Sadly in January of 2008 Bill Belew died after a long battle with diabetes in Palm Springs. He was a rock ‘n’ roll fashion icon who made designs fit for The King.