Michael Jackson's longtime costumer unveils book
In this image taken on Thursday, June 21, 2012, Michael Jackson’s longtime costume and clothing designer, Michael Bush, listens to a question during an interview with Associated Press in Los Angeles. Bush tells the King of Pop’s style secrets in a new photo-filled book, "The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson" to be released on October 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The zipper-covered "Beat It" jacket. The military-inspired coats with their epaulets, crests and insignias. And, of course, that glittery glove.
Michael Jackson's fashion sense was as singular as his musical style and dance moves. Millions imitated his pegged pants and penny loafers, a fedora cocked just so.
Jackson's longtime costumer reveals the secrets behind the King of Pop's meticulously crafted, regal rock-star look — and an intimate glimpse into the man himself — in a colorful new book from Insight Editions, "The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson."
"When you worked with him, you couldn't wait to get there and you didn't want to leave when you got done," said author/costume designer Michael Bush, who with his late partner, Dennis Tompkins, dressed Jackson for more than a generation. "It was hard to imagine anyone that projected fashion and style any better."
What most people don't know about Jackson, Bush said, is he was a joker — a playful prankster who loved to laugh and often teased those closest to him the most.
Bush tells of meeting Jackson for the first time in 1983, when both men were 25. The King of Pop hadn't retained a costumer yet, and Bush was up for consideration. Jackson had been holed up for hours in his trailer on the set of "Captain EO." Bush could hear a monkey squealing as he approached. It was dark inside and "like 120 degrees." Jackson was snacking.
In this image taken on Thursday, June 21, 2012, a detail of Michael Jackson’s belt designed by his longtime costume and clothing designer, Michael Bush, is shown in Los Angeles. Bush tells the King of Pop’s style secrets in a new photo-filled book, "The King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson" to be released on October 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Eager to please as he prepped the pop star's clothes, Bush felt something hit him gently in the head. A cherry stem. A few seconds later, it happened again. When it happened a third time, Bush lobbed a cherry at the rising superstar. Jackson tossed a handful back, and thus began a close professional and personal relationship that spanned the remainder of Jackson's life.
"I think he wanted someone he could play with. He just wanted to see, 'Am I going to have fun with this person?'" said Bush, now 54, an almost sheepish, informally trained clothier from Ohio who learned his craft from his mom and grandmother, who made wedding gowns, prom dresses and quilts.
"And I laughed every day until he died."
Bush wouldn't discuss the time Jackson wore pajama bottoms to court during his child-molestation trial in 2005, but relished in other details of the entertainer's unique approach to his performance attire.