With her recognizable beehive hair and darkish eye make-up, the early photographs of Priscilla Presley are inescapable on the subject of American historical past. Over the previous few years, the Presley inspiration has seen a resurgence in popular culture, whether or not it’s Lana Del Rey emulating a few of Pris’ well-known seems to be, Riley Keough honoring her grandfather in Daisy Jones & The Six, or a chaotic biopic about The King himself.
So, when Sofia Coppola obtained Priscilla’s approval to adapt her memoir, Elvis And Me, she wished to take a delicate however actual method to her life story, because it painted a darker portrait of their time collectively — past the picture-perfect one which most people has seen. This began by assembling an impeccable forged and crew that allowed actors Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy) and Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) to rework into Priscilla and Elvis fully.
“I thought Priscilla’s story encapsulated something we all go through, but in such a heightened, glamorous way,” Coppola beforehand informed Vogue. “I really wanted to capture how overwhelming that first brush with love is and how confusing it can be trying to understand a man who’s so hot and cold.”
Coppola additionally enlisted the assistance of her longtime collaborator, costume designer Stacey Battat, to craft the type as an emblem of Priscilla’s modifications — from adolescence and past. According to W Mag, Battat, who had beforehand grow to be mates with the director whereas working at Marc Jacobs, first began working along with her on the costuming for 2010’s Somewhere. Since then, the 2 have collaborated on Coppola’s movies, together with The Bling Ring and The Beguiled, which was Battat’s first period-era work.
In complete, Priscilla marks their sixth challenge collectively. A difficult one, to make sure. After all, remodeling two historic icons on the display is not any small feat. According our dialog with Battat, there have been six weeks of prep time forward of the six-week shoot with Coppola offering a temper board for the whole movie and the script.
As the movie just lately launched in theaters, we sat down with Battat to talk to a number of the key seems to be — and the way they add to the grander portrayal of Priscilla and Elvis.
Priscilla’s First Encounters With Elvis
During Priscilla’s first encounter at Graceland, she witnesses the stripped-down model of Elvis. Instead of portraying him at first because the on-stage icon, he’s only a man, softened by the choice to place him in knitwear. “I really wanted to make sure that he felt regular, like an intimate, not in lace shirts,” she says of the selection. “And he wasn’t performing that, that he looked non-performative. He looked vulnerable.”
However, this created a problem for Battat through the prep time. Valentino made a lot of Elvis’ sweaters for the movie, which took a few month via hand-knitting — as “there’s not companies that just manufacture one sweater.” Despite the time crunch, she feels it elevates Jacob Elordi’s take as Elvis essentially the most.
Priscilla Was Stylized To Stand Out From The Party
As for Priscilla, who was nonetheless a young person on the time, the style additionally makes notice of simply how misplaced she is to these surrounding her.
At Elvis’ social gathering, the opposite attendees are all older. The girls sit round, gossiping, as they put on watches and high-quality jewellery. Priscilla is, as they put it within the movie, trying like a baby. And this was precisely what Battat was aiming to attain.
“The thing is, 1959, we’re actually closer to the ’60s, so we’re getting into a slimmer silhouette,” Battat shares. “We’re getting away from that kind of puffy petty coat that you see in the ’50s… I wanted to make sure that in the late ’50s when we first meet Priscilla and we first meet Elvis, that she does have a silhouette that reads as younger, younger than the other girls, also younger than she reads later on in the film.”
Elvis’ Controlling Influence On Priscilla’s Style
Throughout the movie, trend continues to function a throughline — whether or not it’s explicitly said or implicitly delivered in refined moments, each of which add as much as the garments being a way of management. During one second, Elvis asks Priscilla if she’d wish to buy groceries, which she gleefully accepts.
The scene then shifts to Priscilla parading varied clothes in a room stuffed with Elvis and his older male mates. She expresses her discomfort with one feeling too low-cut and grown-up. “I think these clothes are too sophisticated for me,” Spaeny-as-Priscilla says, as the blokes encourage her to purchase them. “Now, what is that dress?” Elvis asks in one other half, when he wakes as much as Priscilla carrying a printed gown she picked that he feels is distracting.
In flip, Priscilla turns into a doll of Elvis’ design — being stripped of her identification within the course of. She is modeled after the wonder beliefs he holds for himself slightly than, it appears, what he really is interested in in girls. Their relationship is dotted with accusations of infidelity: together with his co-stars (Nancy Sinatra and Ann-Margret), with a flirty new girl in California, and extra. The ones we do see Elvis’ attraction to are all blonde, whereas he wished Priscilla’s hair to be jet black.
By the time the movie depicts Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage ceremony, the 2 are practically similar. Valentino as soon as once more performed an “immeasurable” position within the costumes, utilizing an “elegant black fabric” to mannequin the rock star’s tuxedo, slightly than his paisley unique. For Priscilla’s gown, Battat checked out laces with Chanel’s artistic director, Virginie Viard, from an earlier assortment, utilizing it for a recreation “within the same vibe,” with the silhouette modeled for Spaeny particularly.
How The Real Life Priscilla Informed The Costume Design
With how spot-on the costume design is within the movie, it left questions on whether or not the actual Priscilla had any enter on the style. After divorcing Elvis, she owned a Los Angeles boutique referred to as Bis & Beau, stemming from her love of favor. She additionally serves as an govt producer on Coppola’s movie. Although Battat didn’t have direct conversations along with her, she was capable of move on questions via Coppola and Spaeny — whether or not it was about her trend evolution or easy methods to type Elordi’s Elvis.
“She helped us kind of to understand when she stopped wearing stockings, and what Elvis would wear between shows when he went to his dressing room,” Battat recollects. “So, all of that kind of came from her. And also, just that Elvis never left his bedroom without being fully dressed. And obviously, the stuff that’s in the script comes from her, that he didn’t like her in prints.”
Priscilla Finds Her Own Sense Of Style And Self
Upon watching Priscilla, viewers are struck by the ultimate transformation that Spaeny goes via. Gone are the eyelashes and eyeliner, and her hair noticeably shifts right into a ’70s-inspired straightened look. She washes out the black dye for a gentler, natural-looking honey shade, seemingly mirroring the inspiration that Los Angeles had on her. And, she begins incorporating prints and denims into her wardrobe. In actual life, Priscilla divorced Elvis across the age of 27, six years after he married her at 21 and met her at 14. We’re then left with the identical query she possible would’ve had on the time: Who are you whenever you’re alone?
It’s round this era, too, when the movie begins to depict items of the staged Elvis as he tries on varied jumpsuits in the lounge of the Graceland home or is seen acting on stage within the well-known white ensemble. These had been made between the movie’s in-house tailor, and an organization referred to as B&Okay Enterprises Costume Company, which is thought for making “a lot of that iconic Elvis stuff.”
“They work with the original patterns, and they were able to make the jumpsuit for us and the blue suit that he wears in the photo shoot,” she provides about B&Okay, revealing that these had been a number of the first gadgets she tried on Elordi. “It’s a small company. It takes about six months to make one of those jumpsuits.”
By utilizing these extravagant jumpsuits to distinction Priscilla’s new laidback type, it turns into visually clear simply how disconnected the 2 have grow to be. During the primary half of Priscilla, Spaeny and Elordi really feel coordinated of their type, sometimes via comparable shade palettes, like Priscilla’s polka-dot two-piece matching Elvis’ B&W go well with when leaving their Las Vegas bender. Priscilla’s adolescence is also marked by bows being current on most of her outfits, being “indicative of the time” and Battat tied it to the Southern phrase, “The bigger the bow, the closer to God.”
However, very like Priscilla’s beehive look, the bows additionally “tapered out as she got older,” very like her willingness to stay within the marriage.
Battat displays on a picture from a photoshoot she encountered of Elvis and Priscilla, taken shortly earlier than they acquired divorced — which is recreated within the movie. “I think that photo really informed how far they’d come apart, in a visual way,” she factors out. In one nonetheless from it, Elvis takes an influence stance of kinds, as he wears an all-blue go well with, and is the one sitting within the chair with a cigar and a workers. Priscilla is in a lavender outfit, posing beside him from the carpet.
“I remember looking at that photo early on with Sofia and us noticing that she was really uncomfortable,” she says. “There’s one photo where he’s kind of gripping her arm, and the real Priscilla looks very uncomfortable.”
“I think there was also more to that photo that felt disconnected, which is, he’s so embellished,” Battat provides. “He’s got a staff and a giant collar and jewelry and eye makeup, and she is pared down, she’s lost the eye makeup, she’s wearing a simple outfit.”
Battat’s costume design work captures not solely this disconnect, but additionally the way in which that trend is used as a type of management on Priscilla. Early on within the movie, Priscilla desires to work part-time at a clothes retailer whereas Elvis is away — a notion he swiftly shuts down. She is supposed to be there for him.
In flip, we see her rewarded with extravagance, whether or not it’s the clothes, a watch, a hoop, or some other reward Elvis offers to maintain her complacent. Reflecting again to Coppola’s earlier quote, Priscilla does an amazing job of capturing the relatability, earlier than driving dwelling the eventual message via a collaboration of Battat’s costuming, Coppola’s directorial imaginative and prescient, and the performing work of Spaeny and Elordi: it’s okay to go away Graceland when you end up.