Pop singer Michael Jackson is being remembered as a one-of-a-kind guy who had a one-of-a-kind style. And it’s a style lots of people tried to copy. KPCC’s Susan Valot caught up with one fashion expert who watched Jackson’s style evolve.
Susan Valot: A fedora hat, fingerless gloves, a red jacket with loads of zippers, aviator sunglasses. Michael Jackson used fashion to create an iconic image when he burst onto the scene with his solo career in the early 1980s. Rosemary Brantley watched that career, and the fashions Jackson used to dress it up, during nearly three decades as chair of the fashion design program at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.
Rosemary Brantley: What he wore was easy for youth to emulate. I mean, you associate loafers with him, white socks with him – I mean, these are all classic things – a white shirt, those cropped pants that he wore were invariably, mostly black.
A black fedora is a classic, as well. That he was able to take these completely classic pieces and just fiddle around with the proportion and the mix of them to become a completely new sort of look.
Valot: Brantley says she saw Jackson’s various looks reflected in her students’ designs over the years. And she says his style legacy will live on. She compares him to Elvis Presley.
Brantley: The style of Elvis Presley one way or another is a legitimate style that you could say – you could see anything associated with him and say, “That reminds me of Elvis.” And I know that Michael Jackson’s going to be the same.
Valot: Brantley says Jackson was a unique entertainer who made whatever he wore “cool.”
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