Few stage performers have created iconic looks that are directly related to specific songs. Say Billie Jean, and the black sequin jacket, black and white-striped tuxedo pants and fedora hat immediately come to mind. As for Thriller, one unmistakably sees the red leather jacket with the two black diagonal stripes. In THE IMMORTAL World Tour, there are references galore to Michael Jackson’s legendary outfits.
“Michael is our narrator, leading us on a journey through his lyrics, his poetry, his visuals, his moves and, of course, how he dressed,” explains Director Jamie King. Michael’s world was the wellspring of Costume Designer Zaldy Goco’s creativity. ”My approach has been to draw upon and respect Michael’s iconic style while creating something new and fresh. I placed subtle references throughout the costumes in the show,” says Zaldy, who was also Michael Jackson’s exclusive designer for the THIS IS IT concert series.
Keeping Michael’s legacy alive
For Zaldy, playing a role in THE IMMORTAL World Tour had a special emotional resonance. “The prospect of working on this show,” he points out, “was not so much a second chance with regard to THIS IS IT as much as an opportunity to honor Michael and keep his legacy alive with new ideas.”
Flights of fancy
The color palette in THE IMMORTAL is rich and lively. Michael loved gold and all things ornate and shiny. He was fond of Swarovski crystals – aurora borealis in particular. The show’s costumes are a rainbow of colors and called for innovative materials and techniques. “In particular, we explored techniques such as 3D printing and LED, pushing the limits just as Michael would,” says Zaldy.
The production brims with imaginative costumes and outfits. Gangster types have surreal guns that seem to be tucked in their pockets but are only shapes; The ghoulish Thriller characters wear pure white, shiny outfits; the bloody innards that show behind the wrappings reflect Michael’s love for horror movies. The straps duo artists appear as magnificent swans; covered in Swarovski crystals, their costumes are corseted and laced in reference to Michael’s corseted wrist in his Black or White video.
Costume Fun Facts
- The copper-colored “welder” costumes with zippers in Dancing Machine directly reference Michael’s red, silver- meshed, zipper-clad jacket in Beat It.
- The soldiers’ costumes in They Don’t Care About Us are essentially made of mytex (foil transfer) on a polyester frame with padding.
- The shoulder pads on the gangster costumes for Smooth Criminal and Dangerous are made using 3D printing.
- Each costume in the Celestial/Human Nature scene is equipped with 275 blinking LED lights specially designed for the show. They change color during the song to mimic constellations.
- More than 90 costume pieces in three different acts use unique LED light technology.
- The bat costumes are made of ultra lightweight paper used for shipping parcels. The huge, lifelike gold wings create a stunning effect.
- There are more than 250 costumes in the show and more than 1,200 pieces total including accessories, shoes, hats and head pieces.
- Three 45-foot trucks are required to carry the costumes and additional wardrobe equipment (washers and dryers, sewing machines, supplies, etc.) from city to city.