Michael Jackson’s costumes have been exhibited in Ireland, UK and Japan before they arrive to the U.S. on December 2, 2012. Michael Bush, Michael’s costume designer said “Michael always gave us back the costumes and clothes. The auction is only a small gathering of costumes and it will benefit charity. These treasures will likely be purchased by museums, avid collectors and fans so I am positive they will be celebrated in all around the world for many years to come. There are many other outfits of Michaels’ already in museums and around the world on display. I know many of these will join those. Also, the fans who bid on them will cherish them forever. Michael would not want them packed away somewhere. He would want people to enjoy them and now they will be able to.”
I understand the sensitivity in the issue of Michael’s costumes being sold. I am creating this blog because of the importance of history, and it’s a fine balancing act. It’s important for me to stress that Michael Jackson was a dear friend to his costume designer, Michael Bush, who helped shape Michael’s vision and style and I’m sharing these photos in the context of celebrating that style.
Aubergine sparkle velvet jumpsuit embellished with punched red thinestones, zippers and buckles. This quick-change jumpsuit w/front zip and velcro closures was designed by Bill Whitten for the Aisan leg of MJ’s 1987-1988 Bad World Tour.
It was a great honor to photograph the costumes at Julien’s Auctions. I spoke to Darren Julien, who has a passion for auction since he was a young boy. Darren grew up one hour from Michael’s hometown of Gary, Indiana in a town called Goshen. He’s thrilled to be part of this presentation.
Michael Bush decided to gift several of the items to the Estate of Michael Jackson so they can be preserved by the Estate as part of Michael’s legacy for decades to come. I’m grateful Bush recognized the historical significance of the costumes. I believe that the fans aren’t against Bush. It’s more that they are upset about what is happening to Michael’s possessions. Perhaps Tom Barrack, the steward of Neverland, will be able to purchase some of the items for sale.Fans from all over the world could visit Michael’s home to visit and enjoy. There could be an entrance fee and the money could be donated to one of Michael’s many charities for our children, for animals, for our planet.
Made of rip-stop nylon, the same material used to manufacture parachutes. One piece costume was embellished with studs and a thick belt to create the effect of two pieces. Michael stepped into the suit, which zippered up the front. The entire outfit, broke away at four seams while remaining one large pice of fabric to reassemble in time for the next show.
I pre ordered Michael Bush’s book “King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson months ago. When it arrived I was up all evening reading the book and gaining even more insight into the genius of Michael Jackson. Bush worked for 25 years creating costumes for Michael. We get precious tidbits like MJ gifting a fan the jacket off his back in an elevator when he said “I love your jacket.”
My favorite part of the auction was seeing the drawings that Michael created. He’d “see” the outfit, draw a sketch and give that to his designers to create.
An original marker and pencil on paper sketch of MJ wearing a custom leather jacket. The sketch is signed and dated by designer Dennis Tompkins “4/91.” Jackson has signed the drawing in black marker “To Dennis & Bush Love Michael Jackson.” 17 x 14″.
- An original marker and pencil on paper sketch of MJ wearing a custom leather jacket. The sketch is signed and dated by designer Dennis Tompkins “4/91.” Jackson has signed the drawing in black marker “To Dennis & Bush Love Michael Jackson.” 17 x 14″
A leather lined gold lame belt covered in silvered bugle beads w/square iridescent Swarowski square crystal buckle, velcro & hook and eye closure. The interior of the belt has “Michael” handwritten in black marker. This style of belt was worn by him during the Jacksons’ 1984 Victory tour.
A color inkjet print of Michael Jackson recording the song “What More Can I Give,” his charity single released in response to Sept 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. Singed in black marker “Love Michael Jackson” 11.5 x 16.5 inches
A black leather belt, covered in silver tone metal badges, with large buckle cartouche centering on a flour-de-lis. The interior of the belt is signed in silver maker “To Bush Michael Jackson.” The belt is additionally marked on the interior in Bush’s hand “Opt #2 Bad Tour 1989.” This was one of the styles proposed to Jackson as “option 2” for the Bad Tour. 32.5 inches
A custom created gold helmet w/silvered sliding visor. The futuristic helmet was created for the opening of Jackson’s 1997-1997 HIStory World Tour and is signed in red marker “Love Michael Jackson.” The concept behind and creation of this costume is discussed at length on pages 148-151 of The King Of Style book.
A piece of white stretch fabric with hand-sewn Swarovski crystal loch rosen, in the process of becoming one of Michael Jackson’s gloves. The work-in-progress offers a unique look into the process of creating one of Jackson’s iconic gloves. The hand beading takes more than 72 hours to complete. The components are then cut and hand sewn. The fabric is signed in black marker “To Bush Love Michael Jackson.” This process is described in detail on pages 32, 33 of The King of Style.
A white cotton right-hand glove with snap closure at wrist and interior label reading “Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush.” The glove is completely covered in hand-sewn Swarovski loch rosen crystals of various sizes. The glove was created for MJ by his longtime costumers.
An original ink, pencil, & marker sketch on paper of Michael Jackson wearing red pants and a rainbow jacket. The sketch is signed and dated by designer Dennis Tompkins “7/1990” with additional notation reading “fiber optic.” Signed in black marker “To Dennis and Bush Love Michael Jackson.” 17 x 14 inches.
Gold painted fiberglass motorcycle helmet with mirrored plastic visor. The helmet has added styrofoam padding on interior and has been wired to illuminate a row of battery-powered lights below the visor. Signed “To Bush Love Michael Jackson. “Helmet was created for Jackson’s 30th Anniversary show at Madison Square Garden.
A silver and gold mirror finish spandex gauntlet glove created for Michael Jackson’s 1996-1997 HIstory World Tour. The glove is signed in black marker “Love Michael Jackson.” This glove appears in the video filmed for the opening of the HIStory Tour in which Jackson is launched in the rocket and goes on a journey through the history of mankind on his way to the show. Illustrated on page 150 of The King of Style.
A pair of black patent leather lace-front shoes with inscription reading “PC’s” in white on the heel. Tompkins and Bush’s notation that these were the shoes worn during the scene filmed in the paddle court. The soles have been heavily scored, bottom of right shoe is signed in silver marker “Love Michael Jackson.”
White spandex shirt featuring ribbed neck, zip closure at back of neck w/rainbow motif. Signed in red marker “Love Michael Jackson.” Jackson wore this shirt when he portrayed Captain Eo in the 3-D film of same name, directed by Francis Ford Coppola at Disneyland in 1980’s and 1990’s.
A pair of cotton blend pants with red inset panel on the outside seam of the left leg. Pants are adorned with nine buckled leather straps on the left leg & seven on the right leg with industrial zippers and D-ring straps. Pants are identical to those worn by Jackson during the filming of his video for “Bad”, but this pair was made for his personal use.
A pair of black spandex pants together with a black synthetic blend avant grade shirt featuring elastic neck, waist, and cuffs covered with circular gathered puckers of fabric to create a three-dimensional effect.
A black wool long-sleeve shirt with snap front closure and lined in black silk. The bib front, western style shirt is embellished white silk ruffle at cuffs and bib front, featuring gold tone metal buttons. Collar and epaulets feature gold piping detailing with faux jeweled costume pieces on each epaulet. The jacket was made by Western Costume Co. Michael Jackson was photographed wearing this shirt with his longtime manager, Frank Dileo, in the early 1980s.
A black wool jacket w/zip and velcro front closures. Jacket is heavily embellished with silver studs, braided metal epaulets, large silver tone metal badges at shoulders, metal plates over collar, white fabric armband with “777” in black and large metal bars across front of jacket.
A black wool jacket with tails, featuring extensive gold bullion embroidery, red collar, cuffs and epaulets. Together with a pair of black wool pants with golden accented outer leg seams and interior label from Bermans and Nathans costumers of London. MJ wore this costume during a 1989 Vanity Fair shoot with photographer Annie Leibovitz for a cover article featuring Jackson.
This sketch, signed by Michael Jackson, is my favorite.
An ink, pastel and marker sketch on paper of Michael Jackson wearing a black military style jacket, signed in black marker “Love Michael Jackson”
A pair of black metal sunglasses with mirrored lenses, worn by Michael Jackson during his 1992-1993 Dangerous Tour.
A spanish comic book entitled “Michael Jackson” signed on the cover in black marker. The 1988 comic book centers around Jackson’s life and features scenes from the Thriller video, The Jackson 5 era, The Wiz and Jackson’s life in 1984.
A white spandex right-hand glove covered in alternating rows of Swarovski crystal loch rosen and square iridescent crystals on the back of the glove. The glove also features a round design centering on five large rectangular crystals and two rows of prong set rhinestones at wrist. Palm of glove is covered in loch rosen crystals of various sizes. Created by Bill Whitten in the early 1980’s. Known as fantasy gloves as they were alternative in color and design to Jackson’s signature white crystal glove.
A full paper mock-up of “the story belt” created for MJ’s approval before the belt was carved and cast in solid silver. The belt featured a large central buckle with two cherubs flanking a crowned “MJ”.
A pair of Levi Strauss jeans with large slashed holes to legs, inset turquoise leather panel on right leg embellished with full coverage of black, copper, silver and gold studs on back of right leg. Left pant leg is signed in black marker “Thanks Bush Love Michael Jackson.” These jeans were created for and worn by Jackson as he appeared in an ad campaign for L.A. Gear
An original pencil sketch on paper of Michael Jackson wearing a military style jacket with loafters, unsigned. 17 x 14 inches.
A black leather, silver studded belt that extends down the right leg with buckled straps. Belt was created for opening leg of Jackson’s 1987-1988 Bad World Tour.
A black wool blend jacket with faux front zipper and Velcro, quick change, font closure. Heavily embellished with gold tone metal police shields at each shoulder, a metal armband on right arm and metal at collar.
A black stretch gabardine, zip front jacket, heavily embellished with zippers at chest, five buckled leather straps on each cuff, buckled leather strap at waist, special officer badges at each shoulder, sterling silver rank markers at shoulders and collar, silver metal studs on epaulets.
A red and yellow varsity style jacket with wool body and leather sleeves with knit cuffs, collar and waistbank. The jacket features a large “M” at chest and was worn by Michael as he transformed into a werewolf while performing Thriller live during the 1987-1988 Bad World Tour. The left sleeve of the jacket is signed in red marker.
A black leather jacket with knit cuffs, collar and waistband, lined in quilted silver lame. The back of the jacket is embellished with embroidered and punched red stone design reading “Stop Filthy Tabloid Press.” Back of jacket is signed in silver marker “Bush 100’s more Love Michael Jackson.”
A pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses that have been gold plated, including lenses. The glasses were created for Michael Jackson’s HIStory teaser, filmed in Budapest, but were not worn in the final film.
A Michael Jackson stage worn black felt fedora. Stamped on interior in gold ink, “Michael Jackson.” The fedora was originally a gift from MJ’s clothing designer, Michael Bush to his friend, Pattie Maxwell. Maxwell sold the fedora to current owner.
A white felt “Smooth Criminal” style fedora signed by Michael Jackson “All my love Michael Jackson 1998 000” with a hand drawn arrow on the underside of the hat brim. Stamped on the interior black hat band “Michael Jackson.”
A “Thriller” style jacket from the J.Park Collection, signed on the back in silver marker “Love Michael Jackson.” Size 38
Black cowhide leather jacket with inset “MJ” in silver leather on front and back of jacket. Shoulders feature chrome motor detailing. The jacket was designed by Thierry Mugler for Michael Jackson to wear for a Herb Ritts photoshoot. Left arm of jacket is signed in silver marker “Thanks Bush Love MIchael Jackson.”
Silver spandex shirt with zip front closure, three silver buttons at chest, buckled black leather straps on both arms, tuck strap with snap closure, and silver tone metal “special officer” badges at each shoulder. Michael wore this shirt on stage during the 1987-1988 Bad World Tour.
A black patent leather motorcycle jacket with zip front closure, zip cuffs, matching belt at waist. The jacket is heavily embellished with a large embroidered Prussian eagle with central “M” crest on back and patches reading “Unique” and “MJ”, and an eagle holding an “M”. Jacket features a red patent leather stripe on left arm and silver embroidered armband on right arm. Michael was photographed wearing this jacket with Flavor Flav while attending an event in the 1980’s.
A black wool double breasted suit jacket embellished with red armband, gold tone metal floral buttons, gold bullion embroidered crown patch at chest, buckled leather straps at right shoulder. MJ wore this jacket during close-up shots of his four-part Pepsi commercial filmed during the Bad era. Jackson wore this jacket when he attended the 3rd annual Soul Train Awards in 1989.
A black cashmere hussars jacket with red armband and cuffs. The front of the jacket is covered in black braided rope and additionally accenting the cuffs, collar and back of the jacket. Front of jacket has a long row of black, crown over eagle buttons, and the collar features black metal crowns over red fabric. Front of jacket has rhinestone brooch, signed “B&W” for designers Butler and Wilson. Michael wore this jacket when he visited the White House in 19990, when he was honored as Entertainer of the Decade by then President George H.W. Bush.
Black leather, zip front jacket w/silver piping detail, large silver tone metal badges down the front. Each badge features an interlinking “V” and “8” and was known as the “V-8” jacket. Interior of the jacket features Tompkins and Bush labels. Michael wore this jacket during photoshoot w/photographer Jonathan Exley which produced the image used on back cover of his Dangerous World Tour souvenir program.
A black silk satin jacket with zip front closure, extensive black and white striped ribbon detailing, silver plastic eagle badges at shoulders, merlot silk armband, costume crystal appliques at collar, large French double-headed eagle coin motif buttons. Michael was photographed wearing this jacket while traveling with Lisa Marie Presley.
A black wool military style jacket featuring red piping detail at cuffs, red armband and red collar and epaulets that are embroidered in yellow “CTE”. Jacket is accented with a gold tone metal badge at chest with crown over a blue enamel center. Michael wore this jacket in everyday life during his 1987-1988 Bad World Tour and was photographed wearing the jacket while hugging Motown Founder Berry Gordy during a visit to the Motown Museum in 1988.
A black leather jacket with front zip closure, completely covered in vermicelli bugle beading with colorful red, yellow, orange, and blue beaded flame embellishment.
A typical weight wool military style jacket with patch featuring lions flanking a “J” at right chest. Michael wore this jacket during rehearsals before filming “We Are The World. “
A DayGlo painted leather jacket created by Tompkins and Bush for Michael to wear as her performed Thriller under black lights during the 1992-1993 Dangerous World Tour.
A red fish skin, zipper front jacket embellished with black zippers, silver lame shoulder panels completely covered in Swarowski loch rosen crystals. Tompkins and Bush created this jacket for Michael to perform “Beat It” during the 1992-1993 Dangerous World Tour.
A cream wool suit jacket completely covered in white vermicelli beading, with faus pearl covered lapel and armband in square black Swarovski crystals. Michael wore this jacket when he escorted Madonna to the 63rd Annual Academy Awards in 1991.
A pale yellow ombre button front, long-sleeve shirt with winged collar and cuffs accented with punched rhinestones. Interior International Costume Co. label with handwritten “Micha”, indicating the the shirt was worn by Michael Jackson.
An original ink and pencil sketch on paper of a stage costume concept prepared for Michael Jackson’s appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Notations on sketch read in part, “White Leather jacket – right sleeve – Velcro to break-a-way.” Signed in black marker “To Dennis and Bush Love Michael Jackson.”
An original ink, and pencil sketch on paper showing Michael Jackson wearing a stage costume with cuirass featuring a Prussian eagle design and other pieces of body armor over black leather. Sketch is signed and dated by Tompkins and signed in pencil “Love Michael Jackson.”
This is one of my favorite items.
A measurement chart with Michael Jackson’s information written in blue ballpoint pen. The chart is signed in black marker “Michael Jackson.”
An original pencil and ink sketch on paper of Michael Jackson wearing a colorful beaded jacket, signed and dated by Tompkins “4/91.” A swatch of fabric with sample beaded pattern is pinned to the page, which is signed in black marker “Love Michael Jackson. “
An original ink, marker and pencil sketch on paper of Michael Jackson wearing a crystal jacket with black pants and red bandanas, signed and dated by Tompkins “2/00-.” Signed in black marker “To Dennis Love Michael Jackson.”
A belt constructed of 18k gold plated overlapping plates that spell out “Dangerous.”The gold plated belt buckle features a carved resin cartouche with cherubs flanking a carved representation of Earth. The interior of the belt is signed in blue marker “Love MIchael Jackson.” This belt was created for the Dangerous Tour, but it did not work with his stage outfits and was therefore not used.
Red synthetic blend tunic with back zipper closure, accented with large grommets, round and star studs. Together with black synthetic blend, tab front flared trousers featuring a row of round studs down the outside seam of each leg. Both pieces feature labels from Cotroneo Costume of Hollywood with “Mike” typed onto each label. Jackson wore this ensemble as he performed the song at the 45th Annual Academy Awards ceremony in 1973, at 15 years old.
Michael Jackson, the boy who loved to explore Disneyland rides at night, write songs while he sat in the branches of an Oak tree, and hand out ice cream sandwiches from his ice cream cart to staff and friends at Neverland, was The King of Pop but even more, he was The King of caring and giving,The King of kindness. Because of his generosity to Michael Bush, all these costumes are up for display so fans can enjoy them. I thought this was a perfect ending for the blog, a pair of shoes that Michael Jackson danced in as he dances in my heart forever.