The Man Who Dressed Elvis Has Died; Bernard Lansky Was 85

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(Memphis) Inside the Peabody Hotel, it’s the store that outfitted the city which gave birth to Rock and Roll and one that influenced fashion around the world.

The store is Lansky Brothers and the man behind it was its co-founder Bernard Lansky.           

Liz Neal worked for him for 12 years and has fond memories of the man she calls her mentor, “I think his good humor, his love of people, he never forgot a face. He remembered your sizes.”          

Bernard Lansky or Mr B., as many called him, was also known as the Clothier to the King, Elvis Presley.

Lansky Brothers, which became Lansky’s at the Peabody when it moved from Beale Street to the hotel in 1981, was ground zero for other icons such as David Porter, Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis and James Alexander of the Bar-Kays.

“We go back some years with Mr. Lansky, our first uniforms. I never will forget they were some maroon suits, pink shirts and black patent leather shoes,” Alexander said.   

Many say Lansky introduced Memphis to carry peg-leg pants, Levi’s and introduced Memphis men to bell bottom pants and Super Fly clothes.

“Back in the day entertainers wanted to be flashy and Lanksy Brothers was the only store that you could find flashy stuff,” Alexander said.           

To this day, his store continues to attract entertainers such as Nicholas Cage, Dennis Quaid, the Jonas Brothers and many more.

“They knew they were going to get the latest in fashion, the hottest thing out, and nobody  else was going to have the same thing,” Neal said.           

Bernard Lanksy, 85, the always sharply dressed retail visionary, and a goodwill ambassador with an eye for fashion and a man who always had a one-liner for his customers.

“If you were trying on something he’d say “the mirror is looking at you and the streets want you or you’re as clean as Ajax,” just his personal things he’d throw out to the public,” Neal said. 

Lanksy leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Joyce, and his children and other siblings.

A public service will be held Friday at Baron Hirsch Synagogue at 400 South Yates at 11 a.m., with interment to follow at Baron Hirsch Cemetery.

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