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With all the fuss and focus on Michael Jackson’s clothes recently, a good place to get a solid foundation of knowledge on Jackson’s threads is this book by fashion writer and stylist Stacey Appel.
Appel provides a parallel walk through the history of Michael Jackson’s stage and personal wear alongside a rudimentary but informative time line of his career; from the off-the-rack matching ensembles of the pre-Motown days, to the costumes in production for ‘This Is It’. Whilst this title makes good use of imagery to illustrate the progression of Michael Jackson’s clothing choices, the text is full of interesting facts, astute observations and a deep understanding of how Michael not only set trends but also responded to his contemporaries and changing fashion contexts.
When thinking of Michael Jackson’s style it is only natural to first jump to some of his most iconic accessories and ensembles from his adult solo career (the single glove, the fedora, the aviator sunglasses, loafers, white socks and shortened trousers etc.) but, it means skipping past the dress sense Michael had as a child star and teen sensation. An extreme selling point of this particular Jackson book is the author’s clear enthusiasm and interest in the playful and colourful designs donned by Michael and his brothers during the Motown and disco eras. In Appel’s discussion of the vibrant designs of the likes of Boyd Clopton and Ruth West of the International Costume Company it is made clear how vital the Jackson brothers’ appearance was as America’s premier young, black success story. Whilst intricate attention is paid to the recognisable symbols that we all know and associate with Michael and his sense of style, Appel’s book is a vital reminder of where that keen sense of flair began.
Michael Jackson Style is a relatively quick but highly enjoyable and enlightening read for fans of all decades of Michael’s ever evolving wardrobe.
Written for The Michael Jackson World Network