Remembering Michael

The King of Pop died four years ago today so there’s no time like the present to celebrate the value he created


Say what you want about Michael Jackson–the man had swag. And on the fourth anniversary of his tragic death, we’re putting a spangled foot forward to lobby in favor of Jackson’s untrammeled ability to set a trend.

Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, the man was/is the King of Pop. I’ll never look at the word “thriller” the same way again. When floating animals don’t appear in music videos, I am fundamentally disappointed. And, frankly, my personal experience with the man (which mind you, is removed by, I don’t know 85 degrees of separation) would never have been the same had he opted to maintain the same facial features for over, say, two years at a time.

He scared the shit out of my younger brother, Henry, when he was six years old because Henry couldn’t believe a human who looked like Michael Jackson (which, by the way, bares a unique semblance to the current me–no?) could actually exist on the same earth he subsisted on–and what’s more? He could metamorphose into a disco-dancing zombie with an entourage.

I’d be hard-pressed to tell you that he couldn’t take a royal shit on a dance contest against even Rubin Pfeffer post strenuous Salsa lessons (see: Along Came Polley,) but in reflecting on the stylistic choices he took during his tenure as Archbishop of The World, I’m pretty certain that the man set several precedents that seem to go unrecognized all too often. Fret not, though, we’re here to correct those dutiful wrongs in a comprehensive list to compliment a slideshow of fashion trends we’ve adopted that he, in a most hyperbolic fashion, started.

1. I love when bows tie themselves. As Charlotte astutely pointed out: Jackson championed the trend of maintaining hair that is bigger than your head accompanied by a hat that’s bigger than your hair. In response to this morning’s post, which posed the question “who wears the hats?” The answer appears to be Michael Jackson.

2. In conjunction with the other four, Jackson taught us of the magic of print mixing. And in combining only two colors as banal as black and white in a variety of at least four prints, (lest you leave off the x’s on their lace up boots), they established themselves as premature, perhaps even embryonic, kings of the fashion blog.

3. This point was only made more obvious when years later, the quintuplets began playing with the notion of monochrome in an array of bright-as-the-eye-can-see them colors, committing in a most ride-or-die fashion to conserving high-waistetry applicable for ambitious men and wholly celebrated by the female paladins of convivial fashion.

4. Not trying to swing the pendulum back in time but I think this nod to prints serves as an additional testament to the expert print-enmeshment capabilities of Jackson.

5. Then, as a lone ranger, there were the culottes. And maybe we’re not here yet stylistically but consider this a pre-emptive reminder to allocate credit where due when Givenchy is putting knee braces on us.

6. Michael would have loved Dannijo, no?

7. What with all the tailored, menswear inspired suiting we as women have been donning as of late, it’s only fair we tell Annie Hall that though she’s great (I might start a Diane Keaton x OMG, Cats! Fan Club if you’re interested), MJ might be greater. Okay, okay, the jury is still out on this one.

8. Who remembers Cara Delevingne’s iD magazine over? Anyone? Here is a refresher.


As you can see, Michael Jackson was placing tarantulas on his face years before the fashion wunderkind even knew how to spell Pilotto.

9. While we’re on the topic of important, hot designer names, who was Balmain before Michael Jackson Beat It in those striped pants?

10. And finally, Jackson clearly had a premonition when he decided to have family portraits taken with his baby tiger because here at Man Repeller, we currently only ever want to wear white suits. Now we know why.

Thanks, Mike.

To keep the morale high–though the loss is certainly disheartening, rather than mourn his absence, we should celebrate his accolades and the insurmountable value across a deluge of boards that he’s bequeathed us–here is one of our favorite hits. It’s just…I don’t know, the way he makes us feel.

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  • Julie

    Oh MJ. <3

  • Stylegodis

    Ohh loving this!! Michael <3


  • ashleymaciejewski

    I think Michael is wearing Céline in the second to last photo. Just saying.

    • Leandra Medine

      Balmain meets Celine meets Marc

      • ashleymaciejewski

        meets Beetlejuice. tricky.

  • Sarina Fleur

    Rest in peace Michael Jackson, he has done more to our society through his music, art and fashion than we ever care to daily appreciate. Love a bit of MJ.

  • Prince Repeller

    Oh thank you for posting this! Been listening to his music all day! Still this day when MJ gets played in a club…everyone gets UP! It’s rare for any other artist to have that power. RIP MJ.

    P.S I loved this outfit of his.


  • Maike

    still unbelievable, that he is not here anymore. I always wanted to see him live, but I was too young. And now its too late. He made me Dance and because of him and “Liberian Girl” I passed my exam in Sport 🙂

  • Nico

    wow…great post!

  • CarlotaLMorais

    Loved your post today leandra! I remember, i was 5 so it was 2000 and my parents did not listen to michael jackson, you know what i asked for my bday? His album! I love him since im little, im 18 now and everytime his songs play at a Club im the only one going crazy!
    What makes me really sad is that he was coming to portugal in the tour he was preparing but then he died 🙁
    Would love to see him live
    That you for your post!
    Love him

  • The Provoker

    <3 Michael!

    Btw, I just posted my pattern on pattern on pattern outfit, it's definitely a signature PROVOKER look! Tell me what you think dear provokee! 😀

    xx The Provoker

  • I can’t believe it’s been 4 years, I was heavily pregnant the night I heard the news in France, and I woke my husband up, in shock, and he thought I was giving birth… He will always be the King of Pop, too bad he didn’t have the happy life he wished for, but I think he found happiness with his kids.

  • Catrine

    I love this post – Michael is one my biggest style icons and so talented.

  • Libby

    Brilliant post, I have to agree, Micky J had swag! and his music I’m sure will be heard and loved in many years to come. I’ll be playing Off the Wall with a glass of red and a boggie in tribute to the King of Pop this evening.

  • zoe_whip

    Michael was ahead of his time! I loved watching him — pure genius!

  • MJ forever

  • Leandra Medine

    I saw him live at MSG once during one of those miracle on 34th street Xmas concerts. He had “laryngitis” and couldn’t perform. IT SUCKED.

    • Maike

      argh… can imagine!

  • The Dandy Diaries

    He was undoubtedly a musical genius and has made significant cultural contributions but it’s hard to praise someone who has ruined many children’s lives with molestation.

    I don’t mean to take away from this post, but the point I’d like to make is that there needs to be a balance when talking about Michael Jackson. Given what we know about his personal life, especially now in light of the information surfacing with Wade Robson’s case. To only celebrate his accolades is dismissing a very serious issue.

  • Laura Iriarte

    I must say…I’m really enjoying your blogs! 🙂

    • Leandra Medine

      I am thrilled to hear that!

  • cec

    Yay yay yay.