Monday, June 29, 2009

Paris salutes the King of Pop

comme des garcons SS10/AP via ONTD_Fashinfags

The fashion world is also mourning Michael Jackson – and not just opportunistic retailers such as Supré who are hopping onto the MJ tribute merchandise bandwagon. Two days before Jackson died, it was revealed that the costumes for his upcoming This Is It tour would be festooned with 300,000 Swarovski crystals. At Givenchy’s menswear show on Friday, Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci told The New York Times that he had been working on some of those costumes and that his show (which featured some embellishment) paid homage to Jackson. John Galliano was the first to add Jackson’s music to his soundtrack. Also on Friday, Australia’s Jethro Cave upstaged yet another SS10 menswear show with his personal styling - Comme des Garçons. Although Cave lost the Gumby earring that prompted commentary at Costume National in Milan earlier in the week, he lifted the sleeve of his jacket during one CDG exit to reveal the words 'RIP Smooth Criminal' scrawled on his forearm. The 'Thriller' finale of Paul Smith’s show which closed the season last night was all over Twitter when Smith emerged on the runway, dancing with his models (here is a video). Jackson had of course recently been rediscovered by the fashion industry.

Much was made of Jackson’s recent appearances in an embellished T-shirt, jacket and trousers from Balmain's most recent womenswear collections – and a similarly-glitzy Givenchy jacket from several seasons ago.

The Balmain/Givenchy connection reportedly came via a hookup between Jackson and French Vogue fashion director Emmanuelle Alt.

But while Jackson has been cited by more than one as the inspiration for the rock trash aesthetic of Christophe Decarnin's recent collections for Balmain, notably a series of influential embellished military jackets, it seems that Jackson himself may have been more than a little inspired by fashion.

Together with the sequinned white glove, the beaded socks and the red bomber jacket worn in Thriller, the heavily-embellished vintage-look naval/military jacket was one of Jackson’s signature looks.

On several occasions the LA Times has credited Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins as Jackson’s costumiers for the past 20 years, including this style obit from Friday.

bill whitten for michael jackson: (T) AP via daylife

Jackson may have worked with Bush and Tompkins in the latter part of his stage careeer, however the embellished military jackets that he wore to the 1984 Grammys and a series of other events in the 1980s – along with the original concept for the rhinestone glove – are widely attributed to Bill Whitten.

An LA-based costume designer, Whitten already worked with the Jackson 5 in the disco-infused 1970s, when the sibling group were performing in dazzling glitter stage outfits.

Here is one performance on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, which ran from 1971-1974 on CBS.

Jackson was of course not the first entertainment industry figure to make a style claim on the vintage-look military jacket.

In the 1960s, Jimi Hendrix's stage look included genuine antique naval jackets, while the high-colour versions sported by The Beatles on the cover of their 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club were authored by Mexican designer Manuel Cuevas.

adam ant/

But according to Stuart Goddard – aka Adam Ant - Jackson's jacket inspiration was more London New Romantic than Sixties psychedelia.

Goddard claims that shortly after the release of his Kings of the Wild Frontier album and videos from 1980-1981, he received a phone call from Jackson asking where he had sourced the heavily-embellished vintage naval jacket worn in the videos.

Goddard told Jackson that it came from the costume hire company Berman's and Nathan's in London's Covent Garden.

At the time the fashion and music scenes were heavily entwined in London.

However in case you are wondering if that makes Vivienne Westwood not only a godmother to punk, but also to the King of Pop, according to Goddard, the jacket was his own call.

Westwood's then creative partner, Malcolm McLaren, was the band's manager at the time.

In Goddard's autobiography, he claims that although McLaren suggested he wear something from Westwood’s debut collection, entitled Pirate (shown in March 1981 in London), Goddard declined, preferring to source the genuine article.


Fashion Hayley said...

I have been looking for a photo of Jethro Cave exposing that message on his arm since I read about it on Issac Likes. Amazing you found one. Jethro always does crazy stuff like that though, even back in high school.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photo, I've also been wanting to see this image, thanks for finding it!

fashion herald said...

I love that MJ called Adam Ant for that jacket.

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