The Auction at Graceland•Elvis Week•August 12, 2017
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/12/2017

The seventies were the era that Elvis introduced us to his famous jumpsuits that forever changed fashion and entertainment history. Nothing is more iconic for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll than his renowned jumpsuits! These quintessential costumes were designed by Bill Belew and Gene Douchette at I.C. Costume Co. in Hollywood, California, and although a variety of nearly 100 spectacularly stunning jumpsuits were created for Elvis over the years, most reside in the treasured Graceland Archives, making the opportunity to acquire one incredibly rare!  

At the age of 40 in 1975, Elvis was going strong, with three tours on the road and three sets of performances in Las Vegas in addition to his New Year’s Eve concert in Pontiac, Michigan. Jumpsuits were a staple of his show wardrobe at the time, and the offered navy blue “Blue Armadillo” jumpsuit is an exemplary example of the evolving style of jumpsuit Elvis wore. Often referred to as “two-piece” suits for the look they portrayed when worn, they actually consisted of a sleeveless jumpsuit worn with a matching jacket and typically accompanied with a colored shirt. Several similar navy “two-piece” jumpsuits were created with various shoulder designs on the jacket including flames, multi-colored arrows, snakes, and a red armadillo, so called because of the pattern’s effect being similar to the scales or scutes of an armadillo. The blue armadillo pattern with silver and blue rhinestones of this jacket is continued down the side of the legs of the jumpsuit, which compliments the bell-bottom style. The jumpsuit retains the original “I.C. Costume Co., Hollywood California” labels. This jumpsuit was created with a matching design belt, which Elvis wore instead with the jumpsuit fondly referred to as “Chicken Bone/Bear Claw/Black Aztec,” so that belt is not being offered with the Blue Armadillo jumpsuit. 

There are a vast number of images of Elvis wearing this very jumpsuit, which he is believed to have worn on stage at least eight different times. Based on the rotation of jumpsuits that we know of, it is highly likely he wore this jumpsuit several more times during March, April and May 1975. The dates confirmed by photography include:

  • on March 21st at the Midnight Show in Las Vegas;
  • on March 30th at the Dinner Show in Las Vegas;
  • on April 24th in Macon, Georgia at the 8:30 p.m. show (this show is heavily documented);
  • on April 28th in Lakeland, Florida at the 8:30 p.m. show;
  • on May 1st in Atlanta, Georgia at the 8:30 p.m. show (Elvis is featured wearing this very jumpsuit on the latest RCA "Follow That Dream" CD release, Elvis in Atlanta;
  • on May 3rd in Monroe, Louisiana at the 8:30 p.m. show;
  • on May 4th in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the 2:30 p.m. show and
  • on May 6th in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at the 8:30 p.m. show.

Colonel Parker kept Elvis busy in 1975 with performances in Las Vegas and on tour around the country. His first tour of the year was kicked off on March 24th in Macon, Georgia at the Coliseum show when Elvis wore this very jumpsuit. The idea of the tour was crafted by the Colonel when he heard of the devastation from the McComb tornado in Mississippi that killed 10 people and caused millions of dollars in damage. In this tragedy, he saw an opportunity for Elvis to help the victims in the town while enticing Elvis to return to the road. This first tour ended on May 5th at the Mississippi State Fair Coliseum with a benefit concert that raised $100,000. The funds were presented to Governor Bill Waller of Mississippi. It was during this tour that Elvis favored wearing this jumpsuit. 

With the vast majority of jumpsuits still residing at Graceland, this very precious example was offered in the 1999 Graceland Archives Auction (Lot C36A) and has only now resurfaced from a private collection. As a result of the extremely limited number of jumpsuits not currently in the Graceland Archives, only a coveted few ever become available to collectors and this opportunity comes so very infrequently. The “Blue Armadillo” jumpsuit is a treasure, with its solid provenance and plethora of images of Elvis performing in this very costume, making it the absolute pinnacle of any important Elvis collection. The jumpsuit is accompanied by its original 1999 letter of authenticity from the Graceland Archives Auction and a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The jumpsuit and jacket present with few defects and many signs of heavy stage use, including commensurate staining on the jumpsuit’s lining and jacket’s interior lining and arm sweat pads. The jumpsuit does have one small area of looseness on a seam on the back, but it is not separated. There are only the faintest areas of discoloration on the blue material, mentioned only in the spirit of exactitude, but these could very well be from use on stage. The jumpsuit has been very well preserved. Near Mint condition.
Elvis Presley Owned and Stage-Worn Sleeveless Jumpsuit and Jacket Made by I.C. Costume Co. - From the 1999 Graceland Archives Auction (C36A)
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $100,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $250,000.00
Estimate: $200,000 - $250,000
Number Bids: 7
Auction closed on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
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