Elvis Presley Actor Austin Butler Wore a Staggering 90 Costumes While Filming ‘Elvis’

by Megan Molseed
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When filmmaker Baz Luhrmann was planning his upcoming film, Elvis which stars Austin Butler, he wanted to do much more than simply tell the story of Elvis Presley. His goal, the director says, was to share the impacts the captivating music icon had. Not only in the industry, but in history as a whole. Telling the story of how this one man, The King Of Rock N’ Roll, became one of the most influential people in music.

To do this, it was important to follow the evolution of the rock-n-roll legend. Taking us through Elvis’s early life, sharing the singer’s meteoric rise to fame. And everything that follows; highlighting the years of immeasurable celebrity status Elvis experienced before his tragic death in 1977. This, of course, follows the singer through generations, and a variety of events; including multiple styles along the way.

Elvis Star Austin Butler Had A Shocking Amount Of Costume Changes While Filming The Upcoming Baz Luhrmann Biopic Film

While creating the impressive costumes seen throughout the film, costume designer Catherine Martin decided to focus on a mix of two costume styles. These two styles consist of “recreations of costumes that existed,” the costume designer explains.

These looks also included “other fictionalized outfits that are a synthesis of outfits that he actually had that help tell the story,” the Elvis costume designer explains.

And, each one of these costumes – over 90 in all – had to allow Elvis actor Austin Butler the movement he needed while portraying the singer. One example of such a suit is a famous pink rockabilly suit. It’s a look that Butler’s Elvis sports in one of the movie’s early scenes.

“The pink suit is a combination of this very drapey, fabulous wool fabric,” explains Martin of the famous suit.

“With a very specific soft, almost cardigan-like feel in the jacket,” the Elvis costume designer adds.

Elvis Costume Designers Made Sure To Help Star Austin Butler Bring Elvis’s Style To The Screen

While researching costume options for Austin Butler to wear while portraying the rock icon on the big screen, the costume designers went back to look at photos of the singer; and made note of how Elvis wore his memorable suits while performing. One thing the designers noticed, Martin says, is that Elvis only buttoned the bottom buttons on many of his suit jackets.

“That extra room of not doing the top button allowed Austin to get in all the fabulous Elvis shoulder rolls,” Catherine Martin says.

The Costume Designers Went Straight To The Source For Some Of the Memorable Elvis Outfits

One key element the Elvis costume designers had in their corner while recreating Elvis’s look for the big screen was a man who knew the singer’s style well; the King’s longtime costume designer, Bill Belew. He helped bring to life recreations of some of Elvis’s famous suits. Such as the iconic leather suit he wore while performing on NBC in 1968.

“It’s the first time we see the Napoleon collar that became his calling card in the ‘70s,” Marin explains. “And it was very important to get that proportion exactly right.”

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