'Bad' Embroidered Tailcoat of Michael Jackson

'Bad' embroidered tailcoat of Michael Jackson 'Bad' embroidered tailcoat of Michael Jackson

This is a specially designed tailcoat with gold work embroidery worn by the USA artist, Michael Jackson (1958-2009) during his 'Bad' concert tour of 1987-1988. The tailcoat in question is heavily embellished with gold thread embroidery in the form of stylised foliage motifs. The raised areas were created with card templates and then covered with various forms of purl and pearl-purl threads.

The uniform was made by the London company of Gieves & Hawkes and decorated by Hand & Lock, also of London. According to the then head of military uniforms at Gieves and Hawkes, a member of Michael Jackson’s team called at the shop in July 1988. Apparently Jackson had driven past the shop at 1 Savile Row and had spotted a uniform in the shop’s window. The uniform in question was for an official privy councellor diplomatic uniform (as opposed to a military uniform). Jackson wanted the uniform to be ready within two weeks so that he could wear it at Wembley Stadium as part of the UK leg of his 'Bad' world-tour in 1988.

Normally quotes are not used in TRC Needles entries, but this one is so interesting that it was decided to include it:

"Normally, it takes four months to produce a piece of bespoke military wear, so a couple of us went right around to his hotel. I had a maximum of 10 minutes with him. You can imagine the situation: it was right before those concerts, so everyone was vying for his time and attention. He had a whole suite of rooms, and staff everywhere. When he saw the garment up close, he loved it, all that ornateness. He loved uniformed clothing in general. We told him what extras he could add: he was very keen on having epaulettes and other decorations. The ones he chose were pretty grand. There are laws about impersonating military officers, although there’s nothing specific on civilians wearing military clothing. Nevertheless, we’re always very careful with our clients: we don’t want to upset the military. Somebody can’t just order a uniform for fancy dress. I literally put the coat on him and cut away. He was famously thin. Incredibly so — tiny, with a 28in waist. In fact, that helped enormously with the fitting; you’d struggle to do a larger person in that time. It also suited his shape — it’s a very body-fitting coat. Back then, we weren’t making clothes for many pop stars, so everybody got quite excited. We were very proud to be part of music history. We didn’t hear from Mr. Jackson again, sadly — although we do offer a wonderful after service.” (source)

Digital sources:

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 15 June 2016)


Last modified on Monday, 17 April 2017 10:45
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