Fashion Diary: Remembering Michael Jackson, forever the King of Pop
Jackson understood the power of costume — on and off the stage, but especially in court. His oddly styled get-ups (the famous pajama bottoms and armbands) created a template for a kind of kooky celeb-goes-to-court look.
The men behind the Man in the Mirror were L.A.-based costume designers Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins. They quietly designed most of Jackson’s personal and concert tour wardrobes, tens of thousands of pieces, many with military details. One jacket--worn in a 1990 L.A. Gear ad campaign--was black suede and covered in minature gold license plates. They even had a Michael mannequin in their studio, built to the singer’s exact measurements. The pop star’s directive was always, “This is what the world’s wearing — top it,” they told me in 2005.
“I was lucky enough to know and work with Michael Jackson in his prime. Michael was an extraordinary talent and a truly great international star. He had a troubled and complicated life and despite his gifts, remains a tragic figure. My wife, Deborah, and I will always have great affection for him,” John Landis, who directed the 1983 film “Thriller,” said by email. Deborah Landis, a costume designer, created the iconic red Thriller jacket.
Jackson was a model for how to be a pop star for a lifetime, reinventing his look often. And the neverending speculation about his rhinoplasties fueled our cultural obsession with plastic surgery.
It’s almost as if the fashion industry knew it was time for a Jackson tribute. The pop singer was everywhere on the runway this last season, in the crystal-studded jackets at Balmain, and the sequined gloves at Louis Vuitton.
Swarovski had been tapped to bedazzle the costumes for Jackson's comeback tour beginning next month in London. I'm sure it would have been a fashion spectacle for the ages.
-- Booth Moore
** [UPDATE: 5:33 P.M. JUNE 25, 2009] Click here to read more on this story.**
Michael Jackson sports his trademark glove as he performs "Billie Jean" during his "30th Anniversary Celebration, The Solo Years" concert at New York's Madison Square Garden on Sept. 7, 2001. Credit: Beth A. Keiser / Associated Press