(6 Aug 2012) 'MICHAEL WOULD SING THE BEAT AND THE CLOTHES HAD TO SHOW YOU THE BEAT'
The zipper-covered "Beat It" jacket. The military-inspired coats with their epaulets, crests and insignias. And, of course, that glittery glove.
Michael Jackson's fashion sense was as singular as his musical style and dance moves. Millions imitated his pegged pants and penny loafers, a fedora cocked just so.
Jackson's longtime costumer Michael Bush reveals the secrets behind the King of Pop's meticulously crafted, regal rock-star look-and an intimate glimpse into the man himself-in a colorful new book, "The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson."
"Michael was very hands-on when it came to working with his costumes," said Bush. "He was very there like on a daily, hourly basis with it. And it was like Michael's concept was I want the fashion designers in the world, the big conglomerates, I want them to copy me. I don't want to wear basically what's out there. I want to push my individuality and being that my music's me, my look should be me. And it was always going out studying to see what's out in the world and Michael's concept was we study what's out there, now we have to top it. What's the next look? Where's it going to go next?"
Jackson's stage costumes were designed to display his dance moves, so Bush and his partner Dennis Tompkins, who died last December, were treated to regular private dance recitals to inform their work.
"Michael would sing the beat and the clothes had to show you the beat," said Bush. "So the clothes had to really extend his, the way he danced, his dance style, so that's why everything was pretty form-fitting because of his locking, popping type style of dancing. If you had these baggy clothes on, like for instance what the rappers are wearing, like Mark would say I'd be in here working my hind end off and you couldn't see anything besides all this fabric. I need you to see the art of the dance. So that's why the clothes were very, very form-fitting."
Bush and Tompkins worked with Jackson until the pop star's death in June 2009. Though they weren't in charge of the costumes for the ill-fated "This Is It" comeback tour, Jackson's longtime costume designers created ensembles for seven songs, including a reprise of his "Billie Jean" outfit with its loafers and spangled socks. There was also a burgundy and gold monogrammed top with a Chinese collar and bell sleeves, and a pair of black bedazzled shin guards.
Bush declined to share any details about Jackson's health or demeanor in his final days. He did say, though, that the King of Pop had always hoped his costumes would be celebrated in books and museums, and Bush is humbled by making that dream a reality. The costumer will exhibit some of Jackson's performance outfits in South America, Europe and Asia before releasing his book on Oct. 30. Many of the costumes will be sold at auction in December, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Recording Academy's MusiCares charity.
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