Above: Catherine Martin’s Panthera fabric, part of her collection with Mokum inspired by Elvis.
ICYMI, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis gets its wide release in the U.S. today, and with it comes renewed interest in Presley’s life and style, from the bedazzled jumpsuits to shag carpet living rooms. Those looking to bring a piece of that vibe home are in luck, then, as the film’s Academy Award–winning costume designer, Catherine Martin, has just teamed up with Mokum for a new textile collection inspired by the glittery flick.
Martin’s line, dubbed the Royal Menagerie, includes fabrics and wallpapers inspired by the late rocker and the decadence of the ’70s. Many of the offerings have a more maximalist look to them, starting with Royal Peacock, a wallpaper depicting the regal blue birds surrounded by tropical plants. The avian critter was a reoccurring motif in Presley’s world, perhaps most notably in his Graceland residence, where large stained-glass peacocks separated the living room from the music room.
“There were many stories surrounding why the peacock was a reoccurring theme,” Martin, who is also Luhrmann’s creative and life partner, tells ELLE DECOR. “The archivist at Graceland said it was a symbol of eternal life in some religions. [Elvis] was a very spiritual person, so that’s quite likely.”
Other patterns cite Graceland’s famous Jungle Room as a source of inspiration—a space that feels like a time capsule, from the (yes) carpeted ceiling to the indoor waterfall. The aptly named Jungle Room pattern depicts layers of tropical flowers and leaves on fabric. The King of Rock and Roll’s ceramic chimp statues, meanwhile, were a point of reference for Monkey Business, a wallcovering featuring a group of apes scaling a leafy tree.
Big cats are another common theme in the Royal Menagerie collection, including a velvet jacquard tiger print—an homage to Presley’s famous tiger jumpsuit—a colorful jacquard leopard print, and the illustrative Panthera velvet, a tribute to one of the rocker’s early nicknames. More subdued options include Grande Boucle and Monarque. The latter, a velvet, takes cues from the interior of Presley’s tour bus.
Graceland’s wood-paneled-fever-dream origins go back to Presley’s father, per Martin.“The story is that his father saw this tiki furniture in a window in a local store in Memphis,” says Martin. “He came home and said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve just seen the ugliest furniture I’ve ever seen in my life.’ So Elvis went and bought everything as a joke.”
It’s appropriate, then, that the collection focuses on storytelling, whether it’s the legendary narratives behind each design or the new life they’ll take on in living rooms and foyers across the country. And, more important, the ’70s aesthetics add a bit of fun. “It feels slightly tongue in cheek,” adds Martin. “There’s a sense of humor, a sense of fun and exuberance. It doesn’t take itself too seriously.”
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