King of Pop, King of Style

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Michael Jackson was a musician of epic proportions. Performers like Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake and Usher have been moved by the music he made, and the dance moves he created. The King of Pop stood out fashion wise throughout his musical career as much as his music did. JUICE retrospects….

Michael Jackson started out as the cute afro haired child alongside his brothers as the Jackson 5 in 1966, opening for The Supremes. It was only in 1989 at the height of his career did people sit up and notice Michael Jackson’s sense of style. Michael Jackson gave a whole new perspective to how a male artist could look at the time. Wearing his iconic well cut tuxedo jackets paired with a white t-shirt, skinny pants, white socks and black loafers, his sense of style was beginning to take shape. This look, besides the ‘Thriller’ outfit is one of the most emulated looks.

Then Thriller came. The phenomenon was crazy and it became the best selling album of all time with 102 million copies. His famous red get up is by far the most duplicated costume to date in the history of popular culture. His signature red leather jacket with its zip details, tight fitting pants, and a single white sequined glove encompassed the look of the 1980s. His Jerry curls and aviators finished off this look.

Costume designer Deborah Landis designed the iconic leather ‘Thriller’ jacket, settling on the colour after learning that “there would be a huge dance with ghouls, and the ghouls would be very ragged and coming from dust,” she said “So I thought, what would make Michael pop? I went through the palette and came up with red.” With the power of music videos on MTV, ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It’ catapulted him into superstardom. Everybody wanted to be Michael Jackson. Teenage boys wanted what he could do and little kids locked themselves up in their rooms to practice the Moonwalk.

This simple suit and top hat look in his ‘Smooth Criminal’ video, has gone on to be imitated by Chris Brown and his performance at the 2007 VMA’s . The more popular MJ became the more he dressed to impress. His style became sleeker and evolved to include regal jackets with embellishments brass buttons, gold braiding and epaulets to symbolize his status as the King Of Pop.

When Michael Jackson was invited to the White House to receive an award from President Ronald Reagan in 1984, he wore a blue sequined cropped jacket with gold sequined epaulets, his signature glove, black loafers with spats and aviator sunglasses.

Costume designers Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins were the geniuses behind ‘Man In The Mirror’; Michael Jackson’s directions were always “This is what the world’s wearing – top it,” the designers said in 2005. The two designers were behind most of Jackson’s ingenious personal and concert tour wardrobes, many with military details – working from a Michael mannequin in their studio that was built to the singer’s exact measurements.

It’s a sad fact that Jackson’s cutting edge fashion took a backseat to his drastic plastic surgery and his controversial lifestyle. While facing charges of child molestation, the media and fans gathered at the court house to capture a glimpse of what Michael was wearing each day to courtroom appearances. Michael Jackson never wore the same thing twice and clothes were made each day, his designers have revealed. He tended to favour an unusual array of greatly tailored suits with pinned brass medals, and brightly coloured vests. His most famous court room appearance outfit was when he came in his pajama bottoms.

His embellished military jacket has went on to be a classic time piece, even Balmain based their entire Fall 2009 collection on the King. It’s almost as if the fashion industry knew it was time for a Jackson tribute. The pop singer’s influence was everywhere on the runway this past season, in the crystal-dusted jackets at Balmain, Givenchy’s gold-studded jackets and the sequined gloves at Louis Vuitton.

Unlike everything else in this fast changing world of music and fashion, he wasn’t a trend. He was classic, timeless. His videos were groundbreaking, and concepts he originated are still used in videos to this day. His concerts broke records, even his own and his unique sense of style, is still duplicated til now. He was never afraid to try something that hasn’t been done. Elvis was the King of Rock and died in our parent’s generation, here’s to Michael Jackson, the King of our generation.

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