Exhibition review: Direct from Graceland – A journey through Elvis’s legacy – until 26th February 2024

Elvis Presley, the undisputed King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Who would argue with that? Certainly not me. I grew up with a poster of Elvis in my bedroom, watching all his movies over and over, picking up a guitar just to be able to sing ‘Love Me Tender’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’

My dream is to one day go to Graceland and Elvis’s native places, Memphis and Nashville. The first step in this journey was for me to visit the new exhibition ‘Direct from Graceland’ at The Arches London in the London Bridge area. A perfect location for a deep dive into the King. The only king I would ever respect, to be honest.

direct from graceland exhibition london mums review
“Direct from Graceland” is the largest retrospective ever to leave Graceland. Hosted in the heart of the London Bridge area, this exhibition is not just a stroll down memory lane but an immersive journey into the life and legacy of the icon.
Elvis graceland exhibition collage

The exhibition spans over 11,000 square feet, offering an in-depth exploration that takes over one hour to navigate leisurely. As a lifelong superfan, stepping into “Direct from Graceland” felt like a personal pilgrimage.

The journey kicks off with a glimpse into Elvis’s humble beginnings, providing a stark contrast to the glamour of his later rock career. From his childhood to early career milestones, including joining the army, the exhibition meticulously unfolds the layers of his life. 

The exhibition shines when it delves into Elvis’s musical roots at Sun Records, capturing the essence of his groundbreaking recordings in 1953. The meticulous attention to detail extends to Elvis’s military service, providing a snapshot of his life during a pivotal period.

Moving forward, the exhibit showcases the evolution of Elvis’s style, from his rebellious 50s image to the flamboyant jumpsuits that defined his later years. The inclusion of quotes from the King himself adds a personal touch, revealing the man behind the iconic image.

Graceland, Elvis’s famed mansion, is also spotlighted, offering a glimpse into his expansive tastes and creative self-expression. The exhibition highlights his additions to the property, such as the exterior stone wall and the iconic Graceland gates. Elvis’s promise to provide his parents with a grand house and luxuries comes to life within these walls.

Elvis graceland exhibition golden suit collage

The exhibition does justice to Elvis’s fashion icon status, displaying a range of outfits that showcase his unique sense of style. From custom-made pieces by designers like Bill Belew to off-the-rack purchases, Elvis’s wardrobe was as diverse as his music. The inclusion of items like the American Eagle Jumpsuit and Cape adds a tangible connection to significant moments in his career.

The exhibition successfully captures the essence of Elvis’s impact on music, fashion, and American culture. There’s an audio tour for an extra £3 that certainly enhances the experience, providing additional insights into his career and featuring his timeless classics. However, I did not use it because I felt already overwhelmed with all information about the artefacts to take in. 

Elvis graceland exhibition red car collage

The gift shop offers a range of overpriced but cute souvenirs (especially the blue suede shoes keyring) to keep the memory alive. Tickets for this extraordinary exhibition are available until 26th February, 2024, providing a limited time to immerse yourself in the world of Elvis. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or new to the legacy of the King, “Direct from Graceland” offers a captivating journey through the life and times of a true musical icon.

Tickets are available from here.

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