Death, taxes, and…Elvis? A pop culture and music icon, one of America’s most enigmatic and quintessential crooners, and a movie star, to boot, Elvis has remained a ubiquitous member of the cultural milieu long after his death, and will no doubt continue to captivate fans for years to come.
The new textile and wall-covering collection from designer Catherine Martin is just the latest reminder of Presley’s continuing influence. Dubbed the “Royal Menagerie,” the collection was made for the luxe brand Mokum, itself a division of James Dunlop Textiles.
The set designer for the new movie Elvis, Martin’s vision is a sumptuous and gloriously maximalist exploration of plush, bold fabrics and eye-popping patterns — the height of 1970s opulence. The designs capture signature sights from Elvis’ world-famous Graceland home in Memphis and reimagine the lavish suite he occupied during his famed Las Vegas residency in 1969 at what was formerly the largest hotel/casino in the world, the International Hotel (now the Las Vegas Hilton).
Upon seeing the Royal Menagerie, one can almost imagine him lounging amidst its velvety landscapes, with or without his blue suede shoes. Dominated by bold, bright botanicals and immersive patterns that even Elvis himself wouldn’t sneer at, Martin’s vision is full of depth and delightfully 1970s grandeur that is as showy and complex as Presley was himself, both as a performer and as a mainstay of the American cultural consciousness.
Of course, the designs were not only inspired by Elvis’ palatial home and Las Vegas suite. They also pay tribute to the king’s penchant for audacious, fashion-forward prints that defined his on-stage persona as much as his smooth, silky voice and gyrating hips. The “Panthera” pattern in particular, with its leopard print amidst a deep gold backdrop, is a chic homage to Presley’s distinctive duds.
Meanwhile, Graceland looms large as its colorful, stained-glass peacock windows are playfully evoked by “Royal Peacock” — fabrics and wallpaper prints dominated by green jungle hues. And don’t forget the ever-present deep shag carpeting, another iconic mainstay at Graceland.
Deep hues offset the rich textures of the fabrics and textiles, but the star of the show is definitely the plush patterns, which are pure Presley. As Martin, “a child of the 70s,” herself recently noted, “I have an affinity for pattern.” Indeed, just one look at the over-the top pieces featured in this collection is enough to satisfy any Elvis fan’s wildest dreams.