Lansky Bros. Clothier to the King – A Timeless Legacy Continued by Hal and Julie Lansky

Lansky Bros. Clothier to the King – A Timeless Legacy Continued by Hal and Julie Lansky
Photo Courtesy: Hal Lansky

In the heart of Memphis on Beale Street, a legendary tale unfolded in 1952 that would forever link a humble clothier to the future King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Bernard Lansky, the proprietor of Lansky Brothers, noticed a young man peering into his storefront. Little did he know that this chance encounter would lead to a longstanding friendship and an enduring influence on the world of fashion and music. That young man was none other than Elvis Presley, and thus began the journey of Lansky Bros. as the “Clothier to the King.”  

Bernard Lansky welcomed Elvis into his store, creating a bond that went beyond a typical customer-clothier relationship. As Elvis rose to fame, Mr. Lansky played a pivotal role in shaping the iconic style that would become synonymous with the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The store on 126 Beale Street became the birthplace of Elvis’s distinctive look, and Bernard Lansky earned the prestigious title of Clothier to the King.  

Today, the torchbearer of this iconic legacy is in the capable hands of Bernard’s son, Hal Lansky, and granddaughter, Julie Lansky. Hal, echoing his father’s welcoming words, invites visitors to experience the rich history of Lansky Bros. The framed black and white photographs that grace the walls are not just relics of the past but a testament to the enduring commitment of the Lansky family to preserving the cultural heritage they helped shape.  

As Hal and Julie guide patrons through Lansky Bros., they point with pride to the historical artifacts that tell the story of the influential relationship between Bernard Lansky and Elvis Presley. The store proudly displays 1950s Elvis-inspired sport shirts and jackets, allowing patrons to immerse themselves in the era that defined the King’s rise to stardom.  

Hal and Julie Lansky emphasize the ongoing influence of Lansky Bros. on the world of fashion. Bernard’s keen eye for style continues to inspire, with the store offering exclusive creations like the blue suede shoes, crafted by Hush Puppies, and Elvis-inspired fragrances. The store has evolved beyond being a mere clothier for Elvis’s enthusiasts, now catering to the modern man with a rock ‘n’ roll edge.  

Lansky’s has been more than a clothier; it has been a part of the history of music. The store has dressed and catered to a myriad of legendary musicians, reflecting its commitment to providing clothing that embodies the lifestyle of these iconic entertainers. Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Isaac Hayes, Bobby Blue Bland, and Robert Plant are just a few of the well-known names associated with Lansky Bros.  

The Lansky brothers’ journey from a lady’s secondhand store to a rock ‘n’ roll fashion hub is a testament to their resilience and adaptability. Hal and Julie Lansky recount the early days when, armed with a modest $125 loan from their father, they moved into what had been a lady’s secondhand store. Tragedy struck when the previous tenant was murdered, but undeterred, the brothers pivoted, switching to selling Army and Navy surplus items. They eventually began incorporating clothing styled to meet the onstage needs and lifestyles of rhythm and blues entertainers, including a promising teenager named Elvis Presley.  

Lansky Bros. played a pivotal role in a cultural shift where bold clothing designed for the stage became a fashion statement for those in the audience. Presley’s tentative purchases on credit symbolized the store’s belief in aspiring artists, a legacy that Hal and Julie continue to uphold. The colors were bold because the business of entertaining was bold. The clothing, initially created for performers, soon became the desired attire for those in the audience, marking a significant transformation in mainstream fashion.  

Hal and Julie Lansky stand as custodians of this rich legacy, ensuring that Lansky Bros. remains not just a store but a living testament to the intertwined history of music and fashion. Their passion for preserving the heritage of Lansky Bros. is evident in the meticulous curation of artifacts, photographs, and iconic garments that continue to tell the story of the clothier to the King.  

As visitors step through the doors of Lansky Bros., at the Historical Peabody Hotel guided by the Lansky family, they embark on a journey through time. They not only experience a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history but also witness the ongoing impact of Lansky Bros.: Hal and Julie Lansky’s dedication ensures that the legacy continues to thrive, offering a glimpse into the enduring influence of a small clothier that played a monumental role in shaping the cultural landscape of the 20th century. www. 

Written by Lennard James  

Published by: Aly Cinco


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