Bill Belew, who headed the design team for Elvis Presley's stagewear and much of his personal wardrobe from 1969 to 1977, died of cardiac arrest yesterday after a prolonged illness. In lieu of flowers the family suggests that donations be made to any of a number of Bill's favorite charities per his wishes. A list of those charities and other details will be posted here as soon the family provides the information.
Bill Belew and his design team made an outstanding contribution to the definition of Elvis Presley's personal style on stage and off. Belew designed the now iconic black leather suit Elvis wore for the key components of his all important 1968 "comeback" television special, along with his other outfits for the show. The collaboration continued through the 1970s, including the famous jumpsuits Elvis wore on stage, most notably the American Eagle jumpsuit made for the global television concert event Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, via Satellite.
"You could be daring as a designer and put anything on Elvis and he could make it work. And the simplest outfits that didn't seem particularly remarkable on the rack transformed into something spectacular when Elvis put them on. He was that beautiful and powerful a presence. As a wardrobe designer Bob Mackie had a perfect muse and a perfect canvas in Cher. I got to have that in Elvis." - Bill Belew
Bill Belew played a special role in Elvis history and was a beloved friend to all at Elvis Presley Enterprises.