A large selection of Michael Jackson’s wardrobe and memorabilia went on sale over the weekend at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. On the block were pieces from the collection of his career-long personal designers, Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins, most of which have not been seen since the King of Pop wore them.
Never one to miss a spectacle, Lady Gaga tweeted on Monday that she had collected 55 items in the auction, promising to keep them “archived and expertly cared for in the spirit and love of Michael Jackson, his bravery and fans worldwide.” While winning bidders are kept confidential, estimates have her spending spree reaching upwards of a million dollars. It’s believed she acquired several signatures, including one or both Swarovski crystal-encrusted glitter gloves, each going for over $100,000, as well as the “Beat It” red jacket Jackson wore on his 1992 Dangerous World tour, which went for over $200,000. The auction took in roughly $5 million, a portion of which will go to charity.
Lady Gaga told Larry King in 2010 that she was asked to open for Jackson’s This Is It comeback tour and sing a duet with him, but it’s believed that the two have never met. Or at least, no proof of it exists. Not that it matters much. Whenever living celebrities accumulate dead celebrities’ stuff, in theory it’s to protect the legacy of the deceased, but more often than not it comes from an outsized sense of entitlement, as if they’re the natural heir of talent and superstardom. Regardless, it makes for a sound investment.
Even if she hasn’t met Jackson, Gaga has at least been in the same room as his most iconic sartorial pieces. Several months ago she performed for Philip Treacy’s millinery runway show, a tribute to Jackson and a precursor to the auction, during London Fashion Week. Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket was paired with a smiley-face hat, while another headpiece recreated in detail the Neverland ranch, complete with a miniature carousel.
Fans have been none too pleased about the unloading of Michael Jackson’s items in the nine sales since his death, for fear that there won’t be much left if a Michael Jackson Museum is ever built. However, as Hint Fashion Magazine suggests, an exhibition of his clothing at the Met’s Costume Institute is in the offing for 2014. If that’s true, one guess who the guest of honor will be at the Met Gala — and 55 guesses what she’ll wear.
Lee Carter is editor-in-chief of Hint Fashion Magazine.
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