In her post Fashion Icon, Michael Jackson is Dead, on Friday June 26, Sally wrote "not only was Michael Jackson a musical genius, he was also a fashion and style icon.....He influenced an entire generation with his cutting edge fashion and style. Undeniably Michael Jackson was as much a fashion icon as he was a musical genius." And now, as the world continues to mourn the tragic loss of Michael Jackson, comes even
more heartbreaking news. Not only was the King of Pop on the verge of what could have been a massive musical comeback, he was also about to see another longtime dream come true – the launch of his own fashion line. Jackson had been working on the clothing line with close friend, French fashion designer and entrepreneur, Christian Audigier. Sadly, the music and style icon did not live to see his dream become reality.
Discussing the planned collaboration last June, Audigier told People magazine, “It’s the merging of the King of Pop with the king of fashion. Something explosive is going to happen.”
Since the superstar’s death on June 25, Audigier has said that Jackson planned to bring some of his own distinctive style to the clothing line. He told BANG Showbiz, “It was based on various types of merchandising on different products, also accessories. What he wanted from me was the T-shirts and the hoodies and the caps. And it was very kind of royalist - kind of a mix of the real Michael Jackson and his alter-ego as the King of Pop.”
The Ed Hardy designer, who has contributed to designer brands such as Von Dutch™, Diesel, Fiorucci and Bisou Bisou, had also reportedly been working with Jackson on the stage costumes for the singer’s highly anticipated “This is It” tour which was to begin in London this week. On June 30, People magazine offered an exclusive look at what would have been a wardrobe truly fit for a King. According to designers Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins, the electric array of costumes included a new Billie Jean suit with 7.5 lbs of Swarovski crystals and 60 lights! For crowd-favorite Thriller, fiber-optic lights had been sewn onto his classic red leather jacket for a surprise light show timed to the music! In total, Jackson's costumes would have featured an unprecedented 300,000 Swarovski crystals in 43 sizes and 27 different colors. What an incredible show that would have been!
The status of Michael Jackson’s clothing line is currently unknown, although there are some reports (see the Florida Panthers Blog by SunSentinel.com) indicating that Audigier plans to move forward. If he does, it will be fascinating to see to what it looks like. Jackson was such a pioneer of style. He turned a sequined glove and a red leather motorcycle jacket into cultural symbols, and inspired countless children, teens and even adults to emulate his style. Whether it was his military-inspired accessories, embellished jackets or any of his other iconic looks, who can’t recall a fashion trend that was inspired by the King of Pop?
To this day, Michael Jackson continues to be a source of inspiration for designers around the world. For his spring / summer 2009 collection, fashion designer Christophe Decarnin famously showed Jackson-esque crystal-embellished military and bandleader jackets for French fashion house Balmain, a fave among A-list celebs.
And just yesterday, designer Eric Tibusch paid tribute to Jackson at his Paris show with a collection of elaborate body suits worn over leggings. The ensembles were inspired by Jackson’s “Dangerous” era, while a leather jacket with criss-crossed zippers recalled the King of Pop’s wardrobe from the “Bad” CD cover. Tibusch told the Associated Press, “I wanted to give homage to him and say ‘thank you for the eighties, thank you for the inspiration, and you will continue to live with us.’”
As was reported on June 24th in People Magazine’s Style News, Style Watch, when talk of the Michael Jackson clothing line originally surfaced last year, it was to be launched exclusively at LA’s trendy Kitson boutique. At the time, Kitson owner Fraser Ross told People, “Michael Jackson is an international pop icon who has had a huge following throughout his career. I think people will think it’s hip to wear his line. Through all his ups and downs people still love him. He still has a huge fan base.”
Since his untimely death, that fan base has intensified to new heights. If Audigier moves forward with the Michael Jackson clothing line, will he include more elaborate pieces as a tribute to Michael? It will be interesting to find out!
It will also be fascinating to see who else jumps on the Jackson fashion bandwagon. Reporting from yesterday’s heart-wrenching memorial at the Staples Centre, Variety interviewed one woman who had traveled from Australia to pay tribute to her idol. Like thousands of others, she was clad in a Jackson-inspired black-and-white outfit with a silver-sequined armband. "I used all my miles,” she said. “I went to Neverland. I did six interviews. I've been on Yahoo! Entertainment. I own six fashion boutiques in Australia and I'm going to design a Michael Jackson line of clothing." She said that her first project would be a shirt with a sequined armband, adding that she planned to spend today (Wednesday) researching Michael Jackson t-shirts.
So, who knows? We may be in store for an influx of Jackson-inspired clothing and accessories as the world mourns the loss of one of the greatest talents to have ever lived. One thing is for sure though: As R&B star Usher sang in one of yesterday’s most moving performances, he is definitely “Gone too Soon.”