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Bernard Lansky: Clothier to The King (1927-2012)

Nov 17th, 2012

//Bernard Lansky with Elvis Presley in Lansky Bros, 126 Beale Street, Memphis, 1956.//

I interviewed Bernard Lansky, who has died aged 85, for my first book The Look: Adventures In Rock & Pop Fashion early one morning in March 2000 at his menswear store which was by then located in Memphis tourist attraction, the Peabody Hotel.

His son Hal had forewarned me: “You’d better get there early; once the customers start arriving at 8.00am he won’t have time for you.”

Just as their most celebrated client set fire to popular music as a means of cultural expression, so Lansky and his brother Guy (who was bought out in 1980) formed the template for street fashion by servicing a hitherto ignored subculture  – namely the black stylers, hipsters, roustabouts and juke-jointers crowding the city’s segregated area around Beale Street in the post-War period.

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