Elvis Presley’s pompadour hairstyle became emblematic of the 1950s. In fact, there’s an interesting figure behind its name. The hairstyle was named after Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV of France.
Interestingly, despite its name, the hairstyle doesn’t have much in common with Madame de Pompadour, who wore her hair up without much volume in the front.
The History of The Pompadour
The Pompadour hairstyle was popularized by Elvis in the 50s, but he wasn’t the first to set the trend. The hairstyle was a women’s hairstyle trend that originated from the royal court in France in the 1680s. It’s quite a big jump to the iconic masculine look in the United States almost 300 years later.
Apparently, the hairstyle first became popular after a mistress of King Louis XIV fell from her horse and quickly tied back her hair. Apparently, the king loved the messy and volumized look of her hair, so she wore it like that to appease him and set the trend.
The french pompadour was different, however. For the fancy french women in the 1680s, the hairstyle wasn’t cut short. It added vertical volume to the hair upfront, then ended in an updo of sorts in the back. In the 1950s, Presley set the trend of the masculine version. He didn’t even have to fall off a horse to do it, just, you know, be a famous rockstar.
Elvis Presley’s Unforgettable Style
Aside from his music, Elvis Presley was a fashion icon of the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Esquire described Presley’s importance to fashion, saying, “The legendary performer Elvis Presley, who was born on 8 January 1935, is one of those rare icons whose style influence has outlived their career.”
Even simple clothes he wore in a way that was unique and his own. Once Elvis started wearing Cuban shirts, they became a menswear must in the 50s. Elvis definitely got style help to polish his look. Bernard Lansky of the Memphis “Lansky Brothers Clothing Store” helped him establish his signature look.
His sequined suits, flared pants, and flashy jewelry all became emblematic of the icon. One of his most interesting looks was a leather look he pulled off in 1968 during a comeback concert. After years of average movies, Presley needed the concert to prove his continued relevance. It wasn’t just the music that made that performance work so well; his revolutionary style set him apart from the pack.
Apparently, when Elvis met Richard Nixon, the president told him, “You dress kinda strange.”
“Well, Mr. President,” the rockstar reportedly replied, “You got your show, and I got mine.”