A Brief History of the Michael Jacket
In the world of fashion, few items have managed to capture the imagination of people quite like Michael Jackson’s iconic jacket. Worn by the legendary pop star during his performances and music videos, thequickly became an emblem of his signature style, and over the years has attained a near-mythic status among fans and fashion enthusiasts alike.
The origins of the jacket can be traced back to the early 1980s, when Jackson was at the peak of his fame. The jacket first appeared in the music video for his hit single “Thriller,” which premiered in 1983. Designed by Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the jacket was inspired by military-style jackets worn by the British soldiers during World War II, and was made out of red leather with black shoulder pads and metallic buckles.
The jacket quickly became one of the most recognizable symbols of the 1980s, and Jackson continued to wear it throughout the decade, both on stage and off. In 1984, he even wore a white version of the jacket during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, cementing its status as a cultural icon.
The Significance of the Michael Jacket
So why did the Michael jacket become so iconic? There are several reasons why the jacket resonated with people so deeply, and continues to be an object of fascination decades after its debut.
First and foremost, the jacket was a key element of Jackson’s image as a performer. In the 1980s, Jackson was one of the biggest pop stars in the world, known for his electrifying live shows and innovative music videos. The jacket was a central part of his stage wardrobe, and came to represent his signature style and persona.
Secondly, the jacket was a cultural touchstone that captured the spirit of the 1980s. The decade was a time of excess and flamboyance, with pop culture icons like Jackson embodying a new kind of celebrity that was larger than life. The jacket, with its bold design and vivid colors, was a perfect symbol of this era, and became an emblem of the decade’s cultural zeitgeist.
Finally, the jacket was a work of art in its own right. Designed by Landis, who was also responsible for the costumes in movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Coming to America,” the jacket was a masterclass in fashion design. Its sleek lines, bold color scheme, and intricate details made it a true standout among the many costumes and outfits that Jackson wore during his career.
The Legacy of the Michael Jacket
Although Jackson passed away in 2009, the legacy of the Michael jacket continues to live on. The jacket has become an object of fascination for collectors, with original versions of the jacket fetching high prices at auctions and on the secondary market. In 2011, one of the red jackets worn by Jackson during the “Thriller” music video sold for $1.8 million at auction, making it one of the most expensive pieces of pop memorabilia ever sold.
The jacket has also continued to influence fashion designers and pop culture icons alike. In recent years, the jacket has been referenced and reimagined in countless fashion collections and music videos. In 2018, for example, rapper Kanye West wore a jacket that was clearly inspired by Jackson’s original design during his performance on “Saturday Night Live.”
Why the Michael Jacket Endures
So why does the Michael jacket continue to endure as a cultural icon, even decades after its debut? There are several factors that contribute to its ongoing appeal.