C. Luzajic - on May 16, 2010
No one on earth could get away with Michael Jacksons outlandish
aesthetic. His style went way beyond the iconic fedora and glitter
glove. Jackson brought fashion to a new level by redefining
masculinity, layering patterns and colours, and experimenting
with tailoring. He was always conscientious about creating a
memorable silhouette. His personal shyness and vitiligo meant
that he seldom showed much skin: the effect this had was incredible,
making a low cut neckline or exposed shoulder absolutely smoldering.
Attention to detail was constant in his wardrobe as with all
other aspects of his superstardom. He seized on the classic
appeal of the military uniform, softening its hard lines with
a feminine touch and some glamourous swagger. Michael Jackson
knew, too, that you must have a few eccentric trademark elements
to make you instantly recognizable ; a few signature moves that
might make little sense. These perfect imperfections stamp your
style. For example, the white socks and floods look will forever
carry the groove and rhythm of Michael Jackson. Whenever someone
wears white socks and loafers, those around him or her will
think of Michael whether or not they meant to. The umbrella
has also become part of Jacksons apparel, a distinctive
part of his silhouette.
Michael Jackson also took fashion risks. Wearing a flawless
ensemble every time would be too predictable- giant mistakes
generated public buzz and contrasted with alternate style statements.
Plus, by wearing outlandish costumes that sometimes went over
the top, Jackson toyed with mass cultural definitions of beauty,
and created some parody of celebrity style. He paraded around
like an eccentric royalty figure- to be the King of Pop, you
must dress the part. But the more garish extravaganzas were
reminders, too, not to take your billions of dollars and style
icon status too seriously- fashion should be fun.
Finally, I must comment on the false impressions left to many
by the media. Before This Is It imagery, where casual
rehearsal outfits show the King to be King of style, most of
the world thought Jackson was coming apart at the seams. He
wore pajamas into court, stumbling out of bed in a daze, right?
The pajama picture is shown ad nauseum as some kind of proof
of the mans deterioration and complete confusion. In truth,
this much repeated photo is on one day of dozens of endless
days at trial. Michael Jackson, who had several autoimmune disorders
including lupus and vitiligo, and who was unfortunately frail,
who worked so hard that he often broke himself, was in the hospital
being treated for extreme pain and possibly respiratory difficulties.
The judge refused to wait and Jackson was plucked out of treatment
and whisked directly to court. He threw a blazer over his pajama
The rest of the trial apparel showed him impeccably tailored,
regal, and subdued (for Jackson!).
Jacksons sphere of influence is so profound that the past
forty years of fashion have frequently revolved around versions
of his outfits. The cuts, the lines, the sequins, the hats,
the armbands, even the finger bandages, of all things, have
come in and out of vogue. Indeed, the pajama debacle made its
way around as well with how tos for achieving
the look that only Jackson could pull off.
While a segment of the populace may find fault in the fabulous
frippery of his frocks, I for one expect to be entertained by
the emperor of entertainment. Jackson was an entertainer. A
master entertainer. His job didnt stop when the concert
ended or the CD finished. Jackson studied the circus, the silent
films, the early comedies, the huge sci fi extravaganzas, the
royalty of Hollywood women, the crooners, cartoons, pirates,
and film noir. And he took his cues accordingly, and dressed