Michael Jackson's Greatest (Fashion) Hits
One year after his untimely death, it’s clear that Michael Jackson’s legacy lives on: His influence over the worlds of music and fashion is still such that Lady Gaga—currently both the reigning queen of the charts and an undisputed master in the Jackson-pioneered art of generating buzz—recently raised her own star even higher by announcing that she’d been asked to open for (and duet with) the King of Pop on his ill-fated “This Is It” tour. Last year, we celebrated him with a gallery of his most frequently copied fashion innovations; this year, we’ve decided to toast his inimitable style by compiling a slide show of his top ten looks.
#1: Psychedelic Prints
#2: Sparkling Separates
#3: The Red Leather Jacket
The zipper-bedecked red leather jacket that Jackson wore in 1983's “Beat It” video quickly became iconic and widely copied. Michael himself opted for a similar tomato-colored style in his subsequent “Thriller” clip.
#4: The Sequined Glove
Performing at L.A.’s Dodger Stadium in 1984, the King of Pop wore an outfit that combined several of his favorite trends: abundant shine, a military-style jacket (complete with golden epaulets), and most notably, his famous single, sequined white glove.
#5: Zippers, Buckles, and Chains
#6: The Classic Suit—with a Twist
#7: Attention-Getting Accessories
High-water pants—paired with white, often-sparkly socks—were another favorite of Michael’s, and they served a purpose, drawing attention to his fancy footwork (seen here in the groundbreaking 1991 video for "Black or White"). The cast-like brace he often wore functioned the same way: It accentuated his awesome movements. (His wrist was reportedly fine.)
#8: The Space-Age Suit
#9: Upscale Armor
#10: High-Fashion Labels
Fashion designers had long been influenced by Michael’s aesthetic, but it wasn’t until the last year of his life that the singer began to reciprocate, regularly stepping out in recognizable, straight-from-the-runway styles. Always a rule-breaker, Michael frequently opted for tops, jackets, and even pants that were originally shown on female models. In this picture from 2009, he wears a jacket and vest by Givenchy; Balmain was another favorite.