Shop Like the King at Lansky Brothers
Shop and feel like a rock star with the Lansky family, the legendary outfitters of Elvis Presley himself. In its original location on Beale Street, the Lansky Brothers store served as the fashion headquarters to savvy musicians in the '50s and '60s, including B.B. King, Isaac Hayes, the Beach Boys, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Today, it continues to bring distinctive fashion to Memphis.
Now operating their clothing stores in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel, Lansky at the Peabody has fashion-forward men’s sportswear inspired by music of the 1950 (and even blue suede shoes). Lansky 126, run by Bernard’s granddaughter, is a trendy denim boutique, and Lansky Lucky Duck offers an assortment of eclectic gifts with a loose focus on the famed Peabody Ducks.
While the Lansky Brothers shop is famous for its reputation as a trendsetting clothing store, its humble beginnings show that great things can happen in Memphis with a little creative vision. In 1946, with a $125 investment from their father, Bernard and Guy Lansky founded Lansky Brothers. What started as an Army surplus store among the bars and clubs on Beale Street, quickly changed course to sell trendy clothes to the local youth and musicians. The bright, vivid and silky fabrics at Lansky Brothers contradicted the well-defined and traditional styles popular with many in the South at the time.
While Bernard Lansky was initially poked fun at for establishing such an in vogue store on Beale, he quickly proved his foresight in doing so.
From the historic landmark near the Lansky shop:
“It was Elvis Presley who helped establish Bernard Lansky’s “Clothier to the King” title and allowed for global recognition. Bernard recalls looking up one day and seeing a young man looking at his windows. He walked up to greet him and told him “Come on in and let me show you around.” The young man said “I don’t have any money, Mr. Lansky, but when I get rich, I’m going to buy you out.” Bernard told him, “Don’t buy me out, just buy from me!”
Presley bought his high school prom outfit from the store. Lansky also outfitted Elvis for his performances on the Ed Sullivan Show (plaid sport coat and pegged pants) and the Dorsey Brothers Show. Bernard was the man who dressed Elvis in the pink/black combination, which defined the cool colors of the ’50s era.
While you visit the new shop, keep your eye out, as you may find a famous musician roaming either of the stores looking to catch lightning in a bottle for a second time!