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On the Wall exhibition explores MJ’s influence on art, while Hugo Boss recreates the suit he wears on the Thriller album
Eduan R. Maggo
The word iconic gets bandied about much these days, but Michael Jackson remains one person generally accepted as worthy of that title. Jackson changed the game – through his music, through his style and even on the business side in how music is marketed. The King of Pop redefined entertainment, and remains one of the most popular artists of all time.
His legacy undisputed, the exhibition Michael Jackson: On the Wall explores is the first to explore Jackson’s influence on popular culture — specifically contemporary art.
Coinciding with what would have been Jackson’s 60th birthday, it gathers artworks by more than 40 artists, and is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London (and runs until October 21).
Drawn from public and private collections around the world, notable names include Andy Warhol, David LaChapelle, Paul McCarthy, Rita Ackerman, Dara Birnbaum, Candice Breitz, Mark Flood, Isa Genzken, Gary Hume and Catherine Opie.
The exhibition, presented in partnership with Hugo Boss, also includes new works made especially for the occasion.
“With his incomparable style Michael Jackson indelibly influenced not only the music scene but the worlds of art and fashion as well. It therefore fills us with pride to have the opportunity of supporting this multi-facetted endeavor as part of our corporate arts programme,” says Ingo Wilts, chief brand officer of Hugo Boss.
While the music industry is rife with stories of lucky breaks, the German luxury fashion house’s connection with the King of Pop is still one of the most serendipitous to this day.
Arriving on the set of the photo shoot for the cover of Thriller, Jackson was faced with racks of options but found nothing of interest. Then he spotted photographer Dick Zimmerman in a white suit, and asked to wear that instead. Zimmerman obliged, and shot Jackson holding a tiger cub (visible in the gatefold and 2001 special release) in his Hugo Boss white suit.
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Thriller (1982) went on to become the best-selling album of all time, and that white suit became a style statement like none other.
To coincide with Jackson’s diamond birthday and the On the Wall exhibition, Hugo Boss has recreated that iconic piece for its core Boss line. A limited edition of only 100 suits, each individually numbered, are available globally in only four stores — and Dubai gets four pieces.
The suit features ’80s throwbacks but incorporates contemporary design elements. It’s crafted from lightweight twill, the jacket detailed with an ’80s-style three-button cuff and slim notch lapels, and the trousers with double pleats at the front — also in homage to the original design. Elegant mother-of-pearl buttons complete the suit.
The capsule collection, which pays tribute to the pop legend as both an artist and a style icon, is also endowed with three unisex T-shirts, each featuring iconic moments in Jackson’s career. All four products went on sale around the King of Pop’s birthday, August 29, at selected Boss stores worldwide and online.
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