Monday, July 13, 2009
Style Icon of the Week!
Ever since the 60's when he sang with his 4 brothers in the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson has always gotten just as much attention for what he wore as for what he sang. And like a true style maverick, the late musician went through stages.
As a child and a young teen, MJ was known for his afro, bell bottoms, and brightly coloured shirts. There was plenty of paisley, plenty of vertical patterns, huge buttons, and even huger ties.
After the Jackson 5 disbanded, and he branched off on his own, Michael adapted a slicker image replete with black suits, crisp white shirts and suave ties. Nowadays, it seems that every other designer from Lanvin to Jil Sander have cut their trouser above the ankle. Suffice it to say, Michael did that long before it was trendy. In fact, he MADE it trendy. Pretty soon afterward, most everybody was seen donning trousers with shorter legs.
After that it was the "Thriller" era where he turned up the style just a tad- military jackets, tassles, the glittered glove, everything got very brash, very eye-catching, very fast. Musically, MJ's influence was being felt, too- there was the birth of MTV and the channel's now mainstream coverage of blacks in videos, there was the domination at the Grammys, and of course, there was Thriller, still the biggest-selling album of all-time today.
With the release of Bad, Michael's image changed to something more urban. There were the denim, the studded belts, the buckles, the leather jackets. the black suits... As more singles were being released from that album, he switched up his image again, opting for a more 50's influenced look- penny loafers, more suits, fedoras.
Some looks were for specific videos, too- the "Billie Jean" outfit, throughout the years of stage performance, remained roughly the same; a simple white t-shirt, skinny black trousers, a black trilby, black loafers and importantly, white diamante socks and a black sequinned jacket. A stage look, no doubt but wonderfully effective; the eye followed the gleaming socks in the moonwalk, the trilby was a clever prop. And as stagey as it appears, Jackson actually adopted more outrageous ensembles.
In many ways his extravagance was a renaissance of fashion showmanship unseen in centuries. For while it was undoubtedly idiosyncratic, it was actually well conceived. To some it was predictably vulgar, but to many it was an appealing extension of the Jackson aesthetic; a taste that embraced antiques, classic cinema, exotic animal pets, theme parks and history. He was evidently a curious and eager materialist who found delight in the sort of bauble and bangle that the most outrageous fop would question. But it was not only a willingness to wear what others might not wear; Jackson’s wardrobe was a premier example of personal couture. If Mr Jackson had the taste for a suit of armour, Mr Jackson would wear a suit of armour.
A true innovator and trailblazer, Michael was the king of bling before the term bling was even coined.
Whether it was the glove, the high-shine suit, the fedora, the jacket, or the white socks, it is certain that Michael wasn't influenced by fashion, fashion was influenced by Michael Jackson.