Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Q&A Sessions with: Michael Bush

I am starting a new feature on my blog called "Q and A Sessions" in which I contact an individual that had the honor to be related to, know, work with and/or collaborated with Michael Jackson. I have been contacting the certain individuals for months to do a session with them for my blog and without giving any information away, only a few responded. At least I get a response because there are some that did not even remotely respond. 

When I contacted the PR (public relations) group for Michael Bush's book King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson, I did not think that I would get a response from them. I was shocked when I checked my email and the PR representative responded back. I gathered the questions that some fans and I had and sent those questions to the representative. After a few days, the questions were answered. 

To give you an idea who Michael Bush is he was the personal stylist for Michael from the mid-1980s up until Michael's murder in 2009. He, along with Michael and the late Dennis Tompkins created and patented the lean from Michael's short film, "Smooth Criminal", worked with Michael to create the gold leotard outfit that Michael made famous in the Dangerous tour in 1992-1993 and the very popular (with the ladies) gold pants outfit that Michael wore during his 1997 History tour. Mr. Bush also styled a lot of Michael's short films, photo publicity shoots and events that Michael attended over the years like the 1991 Oscars and the 1993 Grammys. Mr. Bush even styled Michael during the 2005 trial and for the final time in the private viewing in 2009.

Mr. Bush has written a book all about Michael's style called King of Style: Dressing Michael Jackson in which he goes in detail on how he, along with Michael, created the iconic styles that Michael wore throughout his career. The book will be released on October 30th, 2012. Here is the Q&A session with Mr. Bush. 

The cover of Mr. Bush's book. 

Q: How did you get your start in the business?

A: I began making costumes in Hollywood.

Michael Bush. 

Q: What made you write this book on Michael?

A: Michael himself wanted to do this book with me when he was alive. I felt it was my obligation to him to make sure it got done after his passing.

Q: What would fans expect when they get your book?

A: Hopefully the fans will see it as a monumental history of Michael's fashion sense and appreciate all of the behind-the-scenes stories I share.  It was challenging to try to fit 25 years into 300 pages. I hope the fans cherish it for many years to come.

Items from Mr. Bush's book. 

Q: Did you have to ask for the permission of the Estate of Michael Jackson to use the pictures and likeness of Michael for your book?

A: Yes.

Q: Why did one of the executors of Michael’s Estate, John Branca wrote a foreword to your book?

A: John was very heavily involved in all things Michael Jackson and spent a great deal of time making sure that Michael Jackson's memory is always treasured. Because of his relationship we thought it appropriate for him to be able to write the forward.

Q: What do you want people to take away from this book?

A: Inspiration and the never ending feeling that Michael is still around to inspire. I want it to give fans special memories of Michael Jackson and show fans how the processes came together which many didn't know. I want them to see that the magic of Michael's fashions were more than just an after-thought.

Q: How did you come up with the concepts in dressing Michael?

A: When he was not recording it was a collaboration between myself, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Jackson. When he was recording it was just Dennis and I working together to come up with the designs.

Q: How would you describe Michael’s style?

A: Rebellious street fashion.

Michael on the set of his classic short film, "The Way You Make Me Feel".

Q: Did Michael ever come to you when he saw something that inspired him in regards to his style?

A: Yes we would look through magazines and tear out pages of things we liked and then look at them and decide what styles were intriguing or exciting. He also loved to watch people of different cultures and study their fashions and clothing.

Q: Did you ever seen Michael wear sneakers?

A: Yes he would play basketball at Neverland and remember he also did the L.A. Gear commercial here in the United States.

Q: During the BAD short film, Michael had the use of belt buckles and chains on his clothing. Where did that come from? What was the concept of using those items?

A: Believe it or not Michael bought those retail from a store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

So, Michael got the belt buckles from a retail store? Rad.

Q: How the idea of Michael’s gold leotard from the Dangerous Tour came about?

A: We had done a photo shoot with the famous photographer Herb Ritts and it was the first one we did with leather which turned out to be a timeless photo. Later Michael said that we were taking that style and concept on tour and that's how it came about.

That is interesting that the gold leotard outfit came from this photoshoot.

Q: Who came up with the idea of the gold pants? Also, the fan who asked me this wanted to thank you for making the gold pants.

A: It was the costume that made sense for him to appear as a robot dancing machine during that tour. He had to look like he was wearing metal but still be able to move and dance.

Q: What type of material did you use for Michael's concert costumes to keep him from getting too overheated?

A: It was spandex which breathese easily as a fabric.

Q: Was the gold that was use for the leotard from the Dangerous Tour and the gold outfit, gold pants from the History tour, real gold or gold plated? If so, how many karats?

A: The gold leotard was all gold spandex and it was called mirrored gold spandex.  The other costume was 18K gold plated.

The outfit was all gold. Wow.

Q: What was the deal with the colors black and red? Michael seem the wear those colors a lot. Did those colors symbolizes something to Michael?

A: Black is always classic and timeles, red dilates the pupils of one's eyes when you look at it and Michael felt that using such a color that does that would help burn the memory into the fans forever.

Q: Can you describe in detail how you, Michael and Dennis Tompkins invented the anti-gravity lean that Michael did in the Smooth Criminal short film?

A: It was a process. We approached it without really knowing how to do it but through several hit and misses we finally got it right, one day it just clicked, it was like a gift from God.

The famous Smooth Criminal lean. 

Michael with Michael Bush and others working on the famous Smooth Criminal lean.

Q: Are there any other inventions that the three of you did that the public does not know about?

A: We worked a lot on things for his private use at Neverland Ranch and built special things for him there, mostly art and stuff like that.

Q: Your background was in theatre costume design. How did you applied that to designing and styling clothes for Michael?

A: Theatre is always on stage, and Michael's clothes were always designed to be on show as he was the ultimate showman. So it taught me that need to think about always being on show when you were designing which worked well.

Q: Who were Michael’s style inspirations?

A: He loved Hollywood from the 1940 and loved Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, kind of like the dapper looks from the Great Gatsby.

Looking dapper indeed.

QHow did Mike come up with his styles and various eras?

A: Each album the music changed and so the clothes also had to change with that music.  His styles progressed just like his music did.

Q: How do you think Michael’s style influenced pop culture?

A: He still is influencing it. I was just at London Fashion Week and it amazed me that fashion designers from around the world told me that they have photos of Michael and his fashions on their walls that they use for inspiration. To this day he inspires other artists, other designers, other performers. His music, his aura, the myth will always be an influence on pop culture.

Q: When did you started working with Michael Jackson?

A: June 20, 1985.

QWhen you first met him, face to face, what was your first impression of him? How was he like?

A: He was extremely shy and I think for the first two hours he said three words. My first impression was that I was intrigued at that time that this man I was meeting was the same man who held such aura with the world and myth.

Michael with Michael in 1987.

Q: Was Michael the type of person who would try anything you gave or suggested to him or was he picky?

A: He was never demanding, he wasn't picky because he knew what he needed to showcase his dance moves and his performances and we luckily got to figure that out along the way with him.

Q: What was Michael’s shoe size?

A: 9 1/2 mens medium, US size.

Q: What was his height and what were his measurements?

A: 5 feet 10 inches.

Q: Did his weight fluctuated a lot?

A: When Michael would dance on stage he would lose water weight which is why we also had to have various sizes of costumes for him to change into. He was so physical on stage it was normal for him to lose 5 pounds of water weight during his performances.

Q: Did Michael ever wore jewelry?

A: Yes, he wore bracelets and rings.

QDescribe a day working with Michael.

A: It started with laughing,  there was laughing through the middle of it and it ended with laughter. Michael always said "if we aren't going to laugh we aren't doing it."

Michael playing during the set of the Moonwalker movie.

Q: In an interview, you stated that Michael was your best friend. What kind of friend was he to you?

A: He was beyond giving. He never passed judgment and he always made sure everyone else was happy before himself.

Q: You had to dress Michael for the last time for his burial. How was that like? How did you mentally, physically, emotionally and psychologically prepared to do that?

A: The first thing I always thought of is that Michael needed me to do this right for him and that was the overriding feelings I had. I knew in this time of need I had no other choice but to honor him in this way. I miss him.

Q: What kind of person was Michael?

A: Giving to a faulty, beyond generous.

Q: What was the one thing that Michael taught you that helped shaped you as a person?

A: To give.

Q: What will you miss most about Michael?

A: I miss his contagious laughter.

Q: What is your fondest memory of Michael?

A: His contagious laughter.

 A legend and his stylist. 

I would like to thank Mr. Michael Bush for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. I would also like to thank M2M PR & Partnerships for making this happen. 

The pictures come from my personal harddrive and a google.com search. 

The video comes from youtube.com